Press Releases in Hong Kong

Another Moon Palace diner tests preliminarily positive for virus

People walk past Christmas-themed lights during Boxing Day in Hong Kong's Central district on Dec 26, 2021. (BERTHA WANG / AFP)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported 29 new COVID-19 cases on Monday as another diner at Moon Palace restaurant in the Festival Walk mall tested preliminarily positive, raising the number of cases linked to the Omicron variant cluster to six.

The 66-year-old woman had lunch with eight other relatives and friends in Moon Palace from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm on Dec 27, said Centre for Health Protection epidemiologist Albert Au Ka-wing.

So far, 191 patrons of Moon Palace have been successfully traced and sent into quarantine along with the restaurant workers. Most of their samples returned negative results

She was tracked down and sent to the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre on Dec 31. While testing negative initially, the woman started to have a cough and throat pain on Jan 2. Her samples returned positive results, making her a preliminary positive case.

The woman lives in Block 2, Granville Garden in Tai Wai and has received two doses of the Sinovac vaccine. Her building was cordoned off for targeted testing on Monday night. 

ALSO READ: HK plans to ban unvaccinated from restaurants starting Jan 22

According to the CHP investigation, after the Moon Palace lunch, she has visited multiple restaurants in Tai Wai and Sha Tin from Dec 28 to 30.

Aside from the 22 staff members of Moon Palace, 207 patrons were in the restaurant during the period when the Cathay Pacific crew member, the source of the infection, dined on Dec 27, said Au.

So far, 191 patrons have been successfully traced and sent into quarantine along with the restaurant workers. Most of their samples returned negative results. Ten others are making preparations for quarantine in Penny’s Bay.

Another six, believed to have sat at two tables, haven’t been found, said Au.

ALSO READ: HK logs 26 virus cases, including 1 linked to Moon Palace cluster

The government is issuing another compulsory testing notice, requiring the people involved to complete testing by Jan 4 and report to the CHP. Those who fail to comply with the order could face fines and prosecution, Au said.

Investigators are also reviewing surveillance camera videos and Octopus card and credit card records to track down the six Moon Palace patrons. 

Meanwhile, the CHP said the 29 new cases included 13 confirmed infections and 16 asymptomatic cases, bringing the city’s tally to 12,677.

The new cases consisted of 28 imported cases and one infection epidemiologically linked with imported case. Twenty-seven of the cases involved mutant strains while mutation test results of the remaining two cases are pending. The patients included six males and 23 females, aged 24 to 66.

Since Jan 1, Hong Kong has recorded 45 asymptomatic cases, and a total of 166 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the past 14 days.

The CHP also said that the whole genome sequencing analysis of seven cases announced earlier showed they all carried the Omicron variant of COVID-19, bringing the total number of Omicron infections to 102 in Hong Kong.

Health authorities also decided to suspend Cathay Pacific flights from Manila from Jan 3 to 16 after one flight on Jan 1 had seven passengers who tested positive for the virus.

READ MORE: HK sees first local Omicron cases, tightens rules for aircrew

Since the launch of a mass inoculation program in February 2021, about 4.91 million people, or 72.9 percent of the eligible population, have taken at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, while about 4.67 million, or 69.4 percent of the eligible population, have taken two doses. A total of 421,175 people in Hong Kong had taken a booster shot as of Monday.

With inputs from Xinhua