Press Releases in Hong Kong

Kowloon block cordoned off over suspected local Omicron case

People relax on a hilltop in the Shek Kip Mei district as the sun sets in Hong Kong on Aug 5, 2018.
(PHILIP FONG / AFP)

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong government cordoned off a building in Kowloon on Thursday evening for targeted testing after a resident who is a close contact of an Omicron case tested preliminarily positive to COVID-19.

The government set up a restricted area at around 7 pm at Wing Chak House, Chak On Estate, 1 Chak On Road, Shek Kip Mei in Kowloon, requiring residents there to undergo compulsory testing before 1 am Friday. The government aims to finish the exercise at around 7 am Friday, it said in a statement. 

READ MORE: HK sees 11 Omicron cases, suspends flights of 3 airlines

The resident, 76, is a non-household family member of a Cathay Pacific aircrew member, 44, who tested positive to COVID-19 on Tuesday and was confirmed to carry the Omicron variant on Wednesday.

According to the investigation at this stage, it could not be ruled out that the 76-year-old and 34-year-old male patients were infected by case 12611 (the 44-year-old Cathay Pacific aircrew) during the meal at Moon Palace on December 27.

Centre for Health Protection 

The two men, along with another woman, had lunch together at Moon Palace in Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong from around 1:30 pm to 3 pm on Monday.

After the 44-year-old man tested positive, the elder man was sent to the Penny's Bay Quarantine Centre for quarantine on Tuesday. His specimen collected on the next day tested preliminarily positive with a Ct value larger than 30 involving N501Y and T478K mutant strains, according to a separate statement issued by the Centre for Health Protection. 

"He remains asymptomatic," the statement read. He is retired and has no recent travel history.

The woman was also sent to the Penny's Bay Quarantine Centre for quarantine on Tuesday and her specimen tested negative. 

The CHP said a 34-year-old construction worker who lives in Tuen Mun and had no recent travel history also had a meal at Moon Palace from around 2:30 pm to 4 pm on Monday. He developed a cough on Wednesday. He tested preliminarily positive to COVID-19 on Thursday with a Ct value of about 30 involving N501Y and T478K mutant strains.

In light of the two cases, health officials conducted a field inspection at Moon Palace to investigate if the three cases are related. 

"According to the investigation at this stage, it could not be ruled out that the 76-year-old and 34-year-old male patients were infected by case 12611 (the 44-year-old Cathay Pacific aircrew) during the meal at Moon Palace on December 27," according to the CHP. 

ALSO READ: HK experts OK boosters for residents who got BioNTech jab

The CHP has collected 44 environmental samples during the inspection. The government has requested the restaurant to be closed for thorough cleansing and disinfection and improving the air change.

Also on Thursday night, the government set up another restricted area at Block A, Hoi Tao Building, 7-11 Belcher's Street in Kennedy Town at around 10 pm, requiring residents there to undergo compulsory testing before 1:30 am Friday. 

The decision came after a 46-year-old aircrew member who lives in the building tested preliminary positive to the N501Y mutant strain on Wednesday.

He returned to the US on Christmas Day and has received three doses of the BioNTech vaccine.

The government aims to complete the exercise at around 7 am Friday.