HONG KONG – An Indian man and his Filipino girlfriend were sentenced to jail on Monday for three months and 20 days, respectively, after concealing their travel history in Hong Kong, leading to a cluster of local COVID-19 cases carrying the N501Y variant.
Syed Mohamed Rizvi, 30, was found infected in April after finishing three weeks of hotel quarantine in Hong Kong. He was the city’s first N501Y variant case in the community.
The Indian man (Syed Mohamed Rizvi, 30) once told health officials that he was alone and had never been to any restaurants between April 10 and 12. His Filipino girlfriend (Guadiz Victoria Marie Alcaide, 31), who worked as a nurse, said she did not know the man, the court heard
The engineer, who has flown in from Dubai, dined out at multiple restaurants and joined gatherings with his friends and 31-year-old girlfriend Guadiz Victoria Marie Alcaide after completing his quarantine.
However, the man once told health officials that he was alone and had never been to any restaurants between April 10 and 12. Alcaide, who worked as a nurse, said she did not know the man, the court heard.
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Police officers later found that they had attended two family gatherings.
The duo has earlier pleaded guilty to seven charges. Rizvi admitted to “giving false or misleading information to authorized officers” six times on April 16 and 18, while Alcaide admitted to one count of the same charge. The maximum penalty for this offense is a fine of HK$10,000 (US$1,287) and imprisonment for up to six months.
The woman was released after the sentencing at Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts on Monday as she had already served 20 days in custody.
The cluster centered around the man involved 11 patients, all infected with the mutant strain. The infections prompted the government to order mandatory testing for the city’s 370,000 domestic helpers twice. Another 1,600 residents were also quarantined.
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Three infected helpers, including two discovered through the mandatory testing, were later identified as close contacts of the now-jailed duo.