Travelers walk through the departures hall at the Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Jan 26, 2021. (PAUL YEUNG / BLOOMBERG)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported one new imported COVID-19 case on Monday as health authorities said that the infection of a 41-year-old hotel cleaner with a COVID-19 variant last week was linked to an imported case.
The University of Hong Kong’s genetic sequencing showed that the cleaner’s infection, which involved the L452R variant strain, was related to the case of a 47-year-old woman who had flown in from Indonesia.
The cleaner worked at the Bridal Tea House Hotel in Yau Ma Tei, a designated quarantine hotel, and last went to work on Thursday when her case was confirmed.
The woman worked at Bridal Tea House Hotel in Yau Ma Tei, a designated quarantine hotel, and last went to work on Thursday when her case was confirmed
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She cleaned the room of the infected woman from Indonesia on Wednesday, a day after it was disinfected, according to the Centre for Health Protection’s statement and briefing.
However, the disinfection process only took less than 10 minutes, which may have failed to eradicate the virus, according to microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung, a government pandemic adviser.
The new virus case on Monday involved an 18-year-old man who flew in from the United Kingdom and who showed no symptoms. The city's tally of confirmed cases stood at 11,943.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government announced that its vaccination program will be expanded to cover visitors staying in the city. In May, free inoculations were offered to visitors from the mainland.
In a statement, the government said there are over 2,000 other visitors with valid travel documents who had to remain in the HKSAR due to the pandemic.
To be eligible, visitors should be able to take their two vaccine doses within their limit of stay in the HKSAR without any extension.
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Starting Tuesday, they can bring their travel documents and the landing slips or extension of stay labels issued by the Immigration Department to any post office during office hours and the staff will assist them in making appointments for their vaccine shots.
Also on Monday, about 1,000 staff members of Hong Kong Disneyland started to get inoculated with either Sinovac or BioNTech vaccines through an on-site vaccination service provided by the government.
Inspecting the theme park, Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said: “After more than a year of battling against the epidemic, many people may want to go to theme parks to walk around for relaxation and for parent-child activities.”
“Apart from staff members of theme parks, who should get vaccinated to protect themselves and their colleagues, … I appeal to all parents to make appointments for their children of suitable ages to receive a vaccination before arranging summer activities to help them build a protective barrier in their families,” Nip said.
The Expert Committee on Clinical Events Assessment Following COVID-19 Immunisation met on Monday and assessed reports about serious adverse events that were supposedly related to vaccination.
As of July 5, the committee had assessed 23 death cases and concluded that 13 of these had no causal relationship with vaccination, and preliminarily considered that 10 cases were also not associated with inoculation. The committee considered that there is no unusual pattern identified so far, and it will continue to closely monitor the situation and collect data for assessment.