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Officials warn labs not to take samples from abroad for antibody test

15 August 2021

 By The SUN 

The FDW was tested remotely for antibodies so she could cut short her quarantine

The government has warned local laboratories against accepting specimen samples from abroad after a foreign domestic worker who got tested for antibodies remotely so she could shorten her quarantine period was found to carry the L452R variant.

The Food and Health Bureau also said it may take further action after the 38-year-old FDW who was found to have sent a specimen sample from the United States to a local lab, was found to carry the mutant strain six days after ending her seven-day hotel quarantine.


“The bureau has reminded all authorized labs not to accept samples taken abroad. Residents can take antibody tests at authorized private labs before they leave Hong Kong, to be used as proof of antibody levels upon their return,” the Bureau said. 

Regulations announced in late June allowed vaccinated travelers coming from medium-risk countries like the US to use the positive test result for an antibody test taken in Hong Kong before they leave, to shorten their quarantine period from 14 to 7 days.

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It was made clear then that only antibody tests taken in Hong Kong prior to departure, and with a three-month validity, may be used for this purpose.

The FDW left for the US on Jun 18, long before the government announced that designated hospitals and clinics here would start providing antibody tests.


A panel of experts that advises the government on its pandemic response is due to meet Monday to examine whether cutting the quarantine period to less than 14 days is advisable, given that the FDW was found infected on her 12th day sample.

Meanwhile, a 34-year-old woman who flew in from Mexico via the Netherlands on Aug 7 was confirmed as the only new Covid-19 patient in Hong Kong on Sunday.


She was asymptomatic but was found to carry the L452R mutant strain of the coronavirus.

According to staff at the Department of Health, the woman came from Mexico, then took flight KLM flight KL819 from Amsterdam to Hong Kong.

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She tested positive on the third day of her quarantine at Rambler Garden Hotel in Tsing Yi.

She took the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong to 12,033.

The Hospital Authority, meanwhile, said that as of 9am today, a total of 38 confirmed patients were being treated in eight public hospitals and the Infection Control Centre at North Lantau Hospital.

One patient is in serious condition while the remaining 37 patients are stable.


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