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CHP investigates four additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one additional Omicron case
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) announced that as of 0.00am, December 10, the CHP was investigating four additional confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), taking the number of cases to 12 483 in Hong Kong so far (comprising 12 482 confirmed cases and one probable case).

     The newly reported cases are imported cases. Three of the cases involved mutant strains while the mutation test result of the remaining case is pending. The patients comprise two males and two females, aged 15 to 57. One of them arrived in Hong Kong from a Group A specified place (high-risk) and three from a Group B specified place (medium-risk). Three patients tested positive during the "test-and-hold" arrangement upon arrival at the Temporary Specimen Collection Centre (TSCC) at Hong Kong International Airport, and the remaining patient tested positive during quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel.

     Among the above-mentioned cases, case 12486 involves a 57-year-old male patient, who lives at Block 16, Baguio Villa, 550 Victoria Road, Pok Fu Lam. He departed Hong Kong on November 18 for Vietnam via Singapore. He arrived in Hong Kong on December 8 from Vietnam by flight CX764 and his specimen collected upon arrival in the TSCC tested positive for COVID-19. The patient is asymptomatic and with a Ct value less than 30. His specimen carried the L452R mutant strain (but was negative for the N501Y and E484K strains). He received two doses of COVID-19 vaccination (Comirnaty) on March 22 and April 12 in Hong Kong. Epidemiological investigation and contact tracing of the case is continuing. As a prudent measure, the place where he resided in Hong Kong during the incubation period will be included in a compulsory testing notice. Specified persons who were present at the relevant venue at specified period need to undergo compulsory testing on the specified date.

     A total of 61 cases have been reported in the past 14 days (November 26 to December 9) and all of them are imported cases.

     Meanwhile, the CHP provided an update on the latest investigations on an imported case announced yesterday (case 12478) involving a 37-year-old male patient who arrived in Hong Kong from the United States by flight CX881 on December 7 and tested positive during the "test-and-hold" arrangement upon arrival at the TSCC at Hong Kong International Airport. The patient had received two doses of COVID-19 vaccination (Comirnaty) in Hong Kong on June 2 and June 25. He had been asymptomatic. He tested positive on December 7 for antibody after admission and the Ct value for the test after admission is less than 20. The whole genome sequencing conducted by the DH's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch confirmed that the case carried the Variant of Concern Omicron. There are so far five cases involving Omicron in Hong Kong. Apart from the aforementioned case, two cases are related to South Africa (cases 12388 and 12404) and two cases are related to Nigeria (cases 12432 and 12433).

     A spokesman for the CHP said, as the five cases involving Omicron were all detected at the Hong Kong International Airport restricted area or at a designated quarantine hotel, there has not been a spread in the community. The CHP will adopt the most stringent prevention and control measures to prevent the mutant strain from entering the local community.

     Also, as a passenger flight (CX764) operated by Cathay Pacific arriving in Hong Kong from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on December 8 had three passengers confirmed to have COVID-19 by arrival testing, the DH thus invoked the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H) to prohibit the landing of passenger flights from Ho Chi Minh City operated by Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong from December 10 to 23.

     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 "COVID-19 Thematic Website" (www.coronavirus.gov.hk).

     ​​The spokesman for the CHP stressed, "The global situation of COVID-19 infection remains severe and there is a continuous increase in the number of cases involving mutant strains that carry higher transmissibility, and there are also reports of breakthrough infections in some vaccinated individuals. The CHP strongly urges members of the public to avoid all non-essential travel outside Hong Kong, in particular to specified places with high risk under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H)."
Ends/Friday, December 10, 2021
Issued at HKT 17:00
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