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CHP investigates four additional confirmed cases of COVID-19
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) announced that as of 0.00am, May 4, the CHP was investigating four additional confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), taking the number of cases to 11 791 in Hong Kong so far (comprising 11 790 confirmed cases and one probable case).

     Among the newly reported cases announced, three are imported cases and one is a possibly local case with unknown sources.

     The possibly local case with unknown sources is a 48-year-old woman (case number: 11791) involving N501Y mutant strain. As N501Y mutant strain is with high transmissibility, the CHP decided to carry out prudent measures on infection control and prevention to stop the potential risk of spread of N501Y mutant strain. The CHP will, in accordance with the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation (Cap. 599A), transfer asymptomatic residents of all units on all floors of the building (involving over 220 units) where the patient resided (Block R, Allway Gardens, Tsuen Wan) to quarantine centres ; symptomatic residents will be sent to the hospital for treatment. They will undergo compulsory quarantine for 21 days.

     Following extensive contact tracing investigations, the CHP today confirmed further details of the itinerary of Case number 11643 and 11672 on April 10 and 11. In addition to the restaurant, Curry Lounge, in SeaView Crescent, Tung Chung announced earlier, the patients also visited Citygate, Novotel Citygate Hong Kong and restaurant, Zaks, at Discovery Bay. The CHP will request the relevant persons to undergo a compulsory testing in accordance with the latest information.

     A total of 91 cases have been reported in the past 14 days (April 20 to May 3), including 19 local cases of which 10 are from unknown sources.

     Meanwhile, regarding a notification on May 2 by the Singaporean health authority on a confirmed case of COVID-19 suspected to be imported from Hong Kong, the CHP's epidemiological investigations revealed that the case involving a 44-year-old male Singaporean patient. According to the patient, he was tested positive for COVID-19 during his stay in the United Arab Emirates in late February this year. The patient is still in Singapore. According to the latest information from the Singaporean health authority, the patient had a relatively low viral load (Ct value of 40) and the testing result of his blood sample collected on May 2 was positive for antibody test, which is basically compatible to the result of blood analysis for recovered patients of COVID-19.

     In addition, the CHP today concluded a number of COVID-19 confirmed and preliminary positive cases announced earlier, which were suspected to be associated with testing sample contamination incident of BGI.

     The CHP said that the Centre has all along been carrying out investigation on the source of infections of confirmed cases 11701 and 11702. The CHP has sent the samples of the two cases to the University of Hong Kong for genetic analysis earlier on. The latest analysis result revealed that the two cases carried different local circulating strains, which are similar to the strains seen in the local fourth wave epidemic, hence the CHP considered that they are both locally acquired infections. There is no evidence that the samples of the cases have been contaminated in laboratory for now. The latest case classification of the two cases are both local cases.

     Separately, for the abnormality observed in the preliminary positive results of COVID-19 testing conducted by BGI last month, among the 30 preliminary positive cases announced at that time, two of them were confirmed cases announced on April 23 (Cases 11722 and 11728), one case was a confirmed case announced on April 25 (Case 11732), final test result of one case was indeterminate, while remaining 26 cases were tested again with negative PCR results in hospitals and were classified as false positive.

     Meanwhile, regarding a preliminary positive case involving a kindergarten teacher announced by the CHP on April 17, the CHP already elaborated on the matter in a press release on April 19. Her sample was tested by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch of the DH and the result was indeterminate. She has undergone further tests after admitted to a hospital and the result was negative. She was also tested negative for COVID-19 antibody. As such, the case has not been classified as a confirmed case.

     The CHP's epidemiological investigations and relevant contact tracing on the confirmed cases are ongoing. For case details and contact tracing information, please see the Annex or the list of buildings with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and the latest local situation of COVID-19 available on the website "COVID-19 Thematic Website" (www.coronavirus.gov.hk).

     Meanwhile, the CHP reminded those who had visited specified venues under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation (Cap. 599J) to receive COVID-19 nucleic acid testing according to the compulsory testing notice. The Regulation also requires all household members of close contacts of confirmed cases to undergo a COVID-19 nucleic acid test within a specified period according to compulsory testing notices published in the Gazette. The public are also urged to seek medical attention early if symptoms develop and undergo testing as soon as possible.

     The Government has launched the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme. Members of the public are encouraged to get vaccinated. Details of the programme can be found at the designated website (www.covidvaccine.gov.hk).

     The CHP called on members of the public to avoid going out, having social contact and dining out. They should put on a surgical mask and maintain stringent hand hygiene when they need to go out. The CHP strongly urged the elderly to stay home as far as possible and avoid going out. They should consider asking their family and friends to help with everyday tasks such as shopping for basic necessities.

     The spokesman said, "Given that the situation of COVID-19 infection remains severe and that there is a continuous increase in the number of cases reported around the world, members of the public are strongly urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside Hong Kong.

     "The CHP also strongly urges the public to maintain at all times strict personal and environmental hygiene, which is key to personal protection against infection and prevention of the spread of the disease in the community. On a personal level, members of the public should wear a surgical mask when having respiratory symptoms, taking public transport or staying in crowded places. They should also perform hand hygiene frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes.

     "As for household environmental hygiene, members of the public are advised to maintain drainage pipes properly and regularly pour water into drain outlets (U-traps). After using the toilet, they should put the toilet lid down before flushing to avoid spreading germs."

     Moreover, the Government has launched the website "COVID-19 Thematic Website" (www.coronavirus.gov.hk) for announcing the latest updates on various news on COVID-19 infection and health advice to help the public understand the latest updates. Members of the public may also gain access to information via the COVID-19 WhatsApp Helpline launched by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer. Simply by saving 9617 1823 in their phone contacts or clicking the link wa.me/85296171823?text=hi, they will be able to obtain information on COVID-19 as well as the "StayHomeSafe" mobile app and wristband via WhatsApp.

     To prevent pneumonia and respiratory tract infections, members of the public should always maintain good personal and environmental hygiene. They are advised to:

• Wear a surgical mask when taking public transport or staying in crowded places. It is important to wear a mask properly, including performing hand hygiene before wearing and after removing a mask;
• Perform hand hygiene frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes, after touching public installations such as handrails or doorknobs, or when hands are contaminated by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing;
• Maintain drainage pipes properly and regularly (about once a week) pour about half a litre of water into each drain outlet (U-trap) to ensure environmental hygiene;
• After using the toilet, put the toilet lid down before flushing to avoid spreading germs;
• Wash hands with liquid soap and water, and rub for at least 20 seconds. Then rinse with water and dry with a disposable paper towel. If hand washing facilities are not available, or when hands are not visibly soiled, performing hand hygiene with 70 to 80 per cent alcohol-based handrub is an effective alternative;
• Cover your mouth and nose with tissue paper when sneezing or coughing. Dispose of soiled tissues into a lidded rubbish bin, then wash hands thoroughly; and
• When having respiratory symptoms, wear a surgical mask, refrain from work or attending class at school, avoid going to crowded places and seek medical advice promptly.
Ends/Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Issued at HKT 22:40
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