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Dozens quarantined after 2 men who joined CNY parties found infected

17 February 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Hong Kong families traditionally gather to chat and dine together during Lunar New Year

About 70 people have been moved to quarantine centers after they were found to have joined family gatherings over Lunar New Year with two men who were among 16 new Covid-19 cases reported today, Feb. 17.

According to Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection, between 40 and 50 people who joined a 34-year-old male patient during several gatherings over the four-day holiday were identified as close contacts and put under quarantine.

The patient who lives in Stars By The Bay in Hung Hom, had been unemployed since last year, according to Chuang. Before he was found infected, he went to various places to meet up with relatives, and they had mostly not worn masks.

Another patient, a 36-year-old man who lives in Wong Tai Sin and works as a clerk, also sent about 20 of his close contacts to quarantine. He did not work during the incubation period, so those he met with during the holidays were mostly family members.

Chuang said of the new cases, 12 were locally acquired, and 10 of these were from unknown sources, including the two male patients who attended family gatherings.

The untraceable cases also include two restaurant cooks and a construction worker.

Chuang says it's too early to say whether there's been a rebound in cases

Despite the slight increase in cases after two days of single-digit tallies, Chuang said it was too early to say whether more infections would emerge after the holidays.

“We will closely monitor the situation in the coming days to see whether there is a rebound in cases,” she said.

Among the four imported cases were three who arrived on Feb 15 and tested positive at the airport.

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They included a 44-year-old female domestic worker who arrived from the Philippines, a 38-year-old female returnee from Austria, and a 35-year-old woman from Pakistan.

The fourth is a 29-year-old man who tested negative on arrival from Pakistan on Feb 13, but subsequently fell ill while in quarantine at the iclub Hotel in Tokwawan. A test found him not only infected with Covid-19, but of the more infectious British variant.

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Chuang said he was the 38th patient found to have the mutated strains of the coronavirus. Of these, 27 were found with the variant first found in Britain, one from South Africa, one from Brazil, while nine were unclassified.

Chuang also mentioned an emerging cluster of cases at the Kwai Chung Fire station, where three firemen and one of their relatives testing positive for the virus. Several family members have tested preliminary positive.


The CHP official the transmission likely happened at the fire station, so anyone who had been there during the past fortnight should get tested.

Chui says temporary testing centers will be set up to cope with demand

At the daily briefing, Undersecretary for Food and Health Chui Tak-yi said 21 temporary testing centers for Covid-19 will be set up in addition to 19 community testing centers that have recently been besieged by workers anxious to comply with government regulations.

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Eleven of the temporary centers will be dedicated solely to testing those who are about to resume work in businesses that will reopen tomorrow, as part of the government’s relaxation of gathering restrictions.


Tsui reminded those in charge of restaurants to ensure their workers get tested every fortnight, and to ensure their customers who dine in have downloaded the contact tracing app, LeaveHomeSafe. Otherwise they will have to get the name, contact number and the dates of visit of each customer to avoid penalties.

He said staff have until Feb 24 to have the initial test.






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