Pedestrians walk across a road in front of commuter trams in Hong Kong on May 11, 2021. (ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported two new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, both of which were untraceable local infections, as the government decided to expand the city's vaccination program.
In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, the CHP said the two cases involved a 43-year-old Pakistani construction worker in Kwai Chung and a 37-year-old Filipino domestic worker in Sai Kung who tested positive for the mutant virus strain N501Y. The city's tally of confirmed cases stood at 11,835.
The domestic worker had been to the Fo Tan Branch Office of the Immigration Department on April 30 and May 11; to Block 8 of Villa Oceania in Ma On Shan, where her relative lived, on May 9 and 16; and to Ma On Shan Park on May 1, 2 and 23
The CHP said the domestic helper arrived in Hong Kong from the Philippines on March 20 and was quarantined at the Ramada Hong Kong Grand View in North Point from March 20 to April 10.
After completing her quarantine, she stayed in her employer's residence at Tai Tung Wo Liu Village in Sai Kung. She underwent compulsory testing on May 9 and the result was negative, but a second test at the Ma On Shan Sports Centre on May 22 showed that she was carrying the N501Y mutant strain, the CHP said.
It added that the worker did not show any symptoms and tested positive for antibodies after admission to hospital.
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According to the patient, she had been to the Fo Tan Branch Office of the Immigration Department on April 30 and May 11; to Block 8 of Villa Oceania in Ma On Shan, where her relative lived, on May 9 and 16; and to Ma On Shan Park on May 1, 2 and 23.
On the other hand, the Pakistani patient, who worked at the Tseung Kwan O – Lam Tin Tunnel construction site, had visited his country.
He came back to Hong Kong from Pakistan on March 16 and was quarantined at the Silka Far East Hotel Hong Kong in Tsuen Wan from March 16 to April 5. The worker finished his quarantine and stayed at his residence at Shek Wah House of Shek Lei (II) Estate, Kwai Chung, the CHP said.
The patient had himself tested on May 9 and the result was negative but a second test at the Wai Tsuen Sports Centre in Tsuen Wan on May 23 showed that he was infected, although he showed no symptoms, it added.
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The CHP said that the two patients’ close contacts would be quarantined while all persons who had gone to the places visited by the two patients should undergo compulsory testing.
A total of 23 cases were reported from May 11 to 24, including six local cases, of which three were untraceable, the CHP added.
According to the Hospital Authority, a total of 33 confirmed patients were being treated as of Tuesday in 13 public hospitals and the North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre, including one patient in critical condition and another one in serious condition.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government is working very closely with Guangdong authorities to fight the pandemic, adding that she held a virtual high-level meeting with Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui on May 14.
“We have also put in place special arrangements to facilitate cross-boundary cargo truck drivers since the first day of COVID-19 so as to ensure that the flow of goods and daily necessities to Hong Kong will not be disrupted,” Lam said.
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Hong Kong launched a COVID-19 vaccination drive on Feb 26, and more than 2.17 million doses have been administered so far. About 1.26 million people have taken at least one shot of the vaccine, including 907,500 people fully vaccinated.
The HKSAR government announced that, given public health considerations, the vaccination program will cover mainland residents who are holders of the Exit-entry Permit for Travelling to and from Hong Kong and Macao and will stay in Hong Kong for a period of time.
The HKSAR government is also preparing to provide vaccination to about 13,000 non-refoulement claimants and refugees recognized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Hong Kong.
With Xinhua inputs