Press Releases in Hong Kong

HK sees 11 Omicron cases, suspends flights of 3 airlines

This Oct 5, 2021 photograph taken with a fisheye lens shows people crossing a road in the Wanchai district of Hong Kong. (PETER PARKS / AFP)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong detected 11 Omicron infections on Thursday as the city suspended flights operated by three more airlines for two weeks.

In a statement, the Centre for Health Protection said the 11 Omicron cases involved eight men and three women, aged 21 to 59, whose COVID-19 infections were previously confirmed.

Four of them tested positive during the "test-and-hold" arrangement at the airport while another four tested positive during quarantine. The remaining three tested negative upon arrival and later tested positive at community testing centers.

Including the 11 infections, the financial hub has so far reported 81 imported Omicron cases.

The Centre for Health Protection said the 11 Omicron cases involved eight men and three women, aged 21 to 59, whose COVID-19 infections were previously confirmed

The CHP also said that Finnair flights from Helsinki, Turkish Airlines flights from Istanbul and Cebu Pacific Air flights from Manila were prohibited from landing in Hong Kong from Dec 30 to Jan 12.

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The center said that a Finnair flight from Helsinki on Dec 27 and a Turkish Airlines from Istanbul on Dec 28 each had one passenger who tested positive for the virus upon arrival. Two passengers on respective flights also failed to comply with requirements specified under Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H).

Meanwhile, one Cebu Pacific Air flight from Manila on Dec 29 had three passengers who tested positive by arrival testing.

The CHP also said that Hong Kong on Thursday had 12 new imported COVID-19 cases, including seven that involved mutant strains, bringing the city’s tally to 12,630.

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 “Seven of the cases involved mutant strains, the mutation test results of three cases are pending, and the viral loads of the remaining two cases are insufficient for mutation tests,” the CHP said.

The patients involved eight men and three women, aged 24 to 61, and a one-year-old boy. Six of them arrived in Hong Kong from Group A specified places (high-risk) with enhanced surveillance and six from Group A specified places. 

The Hong Kong government also announced to list Belarus, Curaçao and Vietnam as Group A specified places (high-risk) effective Sunday after Omicron infections were detected in the three places

The CHP said the 46-year-old patient who returned from the United Kingdom lives at Block 1, Grandeur Garden, Chik Fai Street, Tai Wai. He left Hong Kong on Dec 17 for the UK and returned on Dec 27.

He underwent quarantine at the Penny's Bay Quarantine Centre and his sample on Dec 28 tested positive. He was asymptomatic and with a Ct value higher than 30, meaning a low viral load

“As a prudent measure, the places where he resided, worked and visited in Hong Kong during the incubation period have been included in a compulsory testing notice," the CHP said.

It added that a total of 122 cases were reported from Dec 16 to 29, including an import-related case while the rest were imported.

The Hong Kong government on Thursday also announced to list Belarus, Curaçao and Vietnam as Group A specified places (high-risk) effective Sunday. Non-Hong Kong residents who have stayed in the three places within 21 days will not be allowed to enter Hong Kong. 

The announcement came after Omicron infections were detected in the three countries.

Hong Kong residents can only board a flight for Hong Kong if they have been fully vaccinated and hold a recognized vaccination record, the government said.

"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," it added.