Press Releases in Hong Kong

HK reports 2 more Omicron infections in aircrew members

People wearing face masks as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus, walk near the check-in counters at Hong Kong International Airport on March 24, 2020. (ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong's health authorities confirmed two additional cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of such variant infections in the city to 11.

The cases involved two male cargo crew members arriving in Hong Kong together from Kenya, the United Arab Emirates, India and Uganda on Dec 15, according to the Center for Health Protection.

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The 27-year-old patient was confirmed infected with COVID-19 on Thursday while another, aged 41, was a newly confirmed COVID-19 patient Friday.

Both have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and tested positive upon arrival at the Hong Kong International Airport. The Ct values for both patients for the test after admission on Dec 15 were over 30, meaning a low viral load, the CHP said.

A total of 61 cases have been reported in the past 14 days and all were imported, according to the Center for Health Protection

The 41-year-old patient had been asymptomatic and the younger man developed symptoms on Dec 15. The whole-genome sequencing found that the cases carried the Omicron strain, the center said.

So far, Hong Kong has identified 11 COVID-19 cases involving Omicron.

Apart from the above new COVID-19 case, the CHP also reported six new imported cases of COVID-19 on Friday, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 12,513.

Five of the cases involved mutant strains while the mutation test result of the remaining case is pending, the center said. The patients comprise four men and one woman aged 24 to 36 as well as one two-year-old toddler.

A total of 61 cases have been reported in the past 14 days and all were imported, according to the CHP.

Also on Friday, the government said it would specify Montenegro and Poland to Group A specified (high-risk) places effective from Dec 20. The announcement came after Omicron infections were detected there.

That means non-Hong Kong residents who have stayed in the two places within 21 days will not be allowed to enter Hong Kong. 

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"Hong Kong residents can only board a flight for the financial hub if they have been fully vaccinated and hold a recognized vaccination record," the government added. "They will have to undergo compulsory quarantine in a designated quarantine hotel for 21 days upon returning to Hong Kong, with six tests to be conducted during quarantine, followed by compulsory testing in a community testing center on the 26th day of arrival in Hong Kong."

Since the launch of the government inoculation program in late February, around 4.82 million people, or 71.6 percent of the eligible population, have taken at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, while around 4.59 million, or 68.2 percent, are fully vaccinated, government data showed.

Meanwhile, a total of 285,483 people have taken the booster shot in Hong Kong as of 7 pm local time Thursday.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government expects the third-dose vaccination to cover about 1.86 million people.  

With Xinhua inputs