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‘Dance cluster’ linked to Omicron led to 3,700 people being tested on cruise ship

05 January 2022

By The SUN 

The cruise was cut short after two infections, including that of an Indon DH, were found

A luxury cruise liner was summoned back to the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal earlier today, Jan. 5, after it emerged that nine close contacts of an Omicron carrier were on board.

The vessel, Spectrum of the Seas, was supposed to return to port only tomorrow, but at the request of health authorities, ended the cruise earlier.

They were greeted by officials of the Centre for Health Protection as soon as the ship berthed, and all 2,500 passengers and 1,200 air crew were tested by the dockside.


Earlier, the nine close contacts were isolated inside the ship, and tested. They were re-tested with the rest of the passengers on arrival and the results were all negative, said the CHP.

On further investigation, 18 close contacts of the isolated guests were reportedly identified and along with the nine previously tested, will be sent to a quarantine centre.

Experts said unless the people on board test positive for Covid-19 eventually, it was not likely that the other passengers on the ship would be required to move to the quarantine centre.


The named passengers were all linked to the mother of a 48-year-old female Cathay employee, who infected two family members when she went home to North Point after testing negative on arrival at Hong Kong airport on Dec. 27. 

She tested positive for the coronavirus with the Omicron variant two days later.

The Indonesian helper often visited Victoria Park along with her employer's dancing group 

Meantime, her 62-year-old mother, who was later found to have been infected as well, met up each morning with about 20 friends for dancing at Victoria Park, and at the Causeway Bay Community Centre.

One of her dancing friends, a 48-year-old woman who lives at Causeway Tower in Causeway Bay, developed symptoms on Sunday and tested preliminary positive. She was confirmed to have Covid-19 with the Omicron strains today.


The 43-year-old Indonesian domestic worker of another friend she visited at home in Chesterfield Mansion also in Causeway Bay, developed a fever, runny nose and sore throat on the same day.

At the advice of a church leader, she went to a boarding house in Rialto Mansion in North Point to rest, then had herself checked at Ruttonjee Hospital in Wan Chai where she tested positive for Covid-19 with the Omicron strains.

But before this, she met up and dined with friends at Victoria Park and nearby places, and attended church services on Jan 1 and 2, where about 80 other people were present.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Meanwhile, the helper’s employer, along with eight other members of the elderly woman’s dancing group boarded the “Spectrum of the Seas” on Jan 2 for a “cruise to nowhere” that was meant to last for five days.

After the two women were tested preliminary positive, Causeway Tower and Chesterfield Mansion were both put under an overnight lockdown. However, no new cases were found after residents of both housing blocks were tested.

No new infection was found, either, in another lockdown on block 2 of Tsui Ning Garden on Fung On Street, where the first untraceable patient of a suspected Omicron carrier lives.

Press for details

The 42-year-old surveyor who had not been vaccinated, told investigators he had not traveled lately, nor had been to any high-risk places such as the Moon Palace restaurant in Kowloon Tong where an import-related outbreak of Omicron has occurred.

CHP chief Dr Edwin Hui said in a briefing this afternoon that further investigation revealed that the man would take the bus that took him from his residence to Victoria Park, where he walked to his office in North Point.

Hui  said that the man’s walking route took him about 20 meters away from the dancing ladies, but were not sure if this was the source of his infection.


“The distance is quite far away from the group of ladies who were dancing at that time, 20 meters away. All of them were wearing masks at the time. (But) there are possible risks because of Omicron’s transmissibility,” said Hui.

Another possibility that they are looking at is whether the man had been to a nearby restaurant at the same time as the elderly woman who was the index patient in the dance cluster.

His Octopus record reportedly showed he had been to one restaurant on Dec 31 where two other infected patients had dined.

Hui said contact tracing is still ongoing. But he said the cases were worrying, as all three patients were found to carry heavy viral load, with Ct values of between 13 (for the Indonesian helper), 16.5 to 18 for the man, and 21 for the woman.

Meanwhile, the cruise operator, Royal Caribbean International, said it has asked all guests to be fully vaccinated and provide negative test results before boarding the cruise liner in line with regulations.

It added it was cancelling a trip scheduled for Thursday, ahead of Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s announcement that all cruises departing Hong Kong will be suspended from Friday, Jan. 7.

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