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Govt holds risk reduction talks with Cathay as 8 new Covid-19 cases found

19 December 2021

By The SUN


There's concern that cargo crew's quarantine exemption may lead to Omicron spread  

Hong Kong health officials are discussing with Cathay Pacific ways to reduce the risks posed by the airline crew’s exemption from quarantine after a cargo pilot was confirmed positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan disclosed the risk reduction talks on local radio today, Dec 19, as the Centre for Health Protection reported eight new Covid-19 patients, six of them possibly carrying the Omicron variant. They were all imported.

“The authorities have taken various measures to detect and prevent community cases. Once relevant cases are found, the area will be locked down for testing,” Chan said.


The health official cited researches showing that Omicron may bypass immunity from past infections or vaccination. She urged the elderly and high-risk groups to receive booster jabs as soon as possible to minimize the risk of catching the variant.

Chinese University professor Dr David Hui said there were concerns that flight crew on home quarantine may spread the coronavirus whenever they left home for Covid tests or bought food during the two-hour window that they are allowed.

Hui said authorities could consider sending staff to collect samples for the crewmen so that they won’t need to leave their homes to undergo tests.


The first Omicron case to enter the community was the 36-year-old Cathay cargo pilot who arrived in Hong Kong from Anchorage, Alaska on Dec 13.

In today’s Covid-19 update, the CHP said six of the eight confirmed patients carried the N501Y mutant strain, which is now linked more to Omicron than the Alpha variant.

Two of them were female passengers from the UK, one aged 26 who flew in via VS206 on Dec 17 and tested positive at the airport, and another who arrived on CX252 on Dec 13 and was found positive while in hotel quarantine.


Among the four men with the N501Y strain was a 46-year-old crew of Alis Cargo Airline flight CP134 that arrived from Italy on Dec 17 and a 22-year-old resident who flew in from Spain via Qatar on QR818 on Dec 15. They tested positive at the airport.

The two others are a 42-year-old foreign domestic helper who arrived on Dec 13 from India via the United Arab Emirates on EK384, and a 31-year-old man from Kenya who flew in on Dec 15 via Qatar on QR818.

The CHP said a genomic sequencing test on a 62-year-old woman who arrived Dec 15 from Switzerland on flight AY101 via Finland was inconclusive.


Only one patient carried the L452R strain, which is linked to the Delta variant. He was a man aged 59 who arrived Dec 17 from France via Finland on flight AY101 and tested positive for Covid-19 at the Hong Kong International Airport.

All of today’s confirmed patients had received at least two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.


A total of 66 cases have been reported in the past 14 days ending Dec 18, and all of them are imported.

Meanwhile, the CHP reminded persons who resided or worked in Cheung Hing Building at 44-48 Pitt St, Yau Ma Tei, to go for compulsory testing again on Monday, Dec 20. They will also be required to undergo self-monitoring until the 21st day.

Pindutin para sa detalye

The building is where the Cathay pilot with Omicron lived for two days before testing positive for Omicron.

For case details and contact tracing information, please check the Covid thematic website,

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