Citygate mall visitors urged to get tested for mutant coronavirus strain

Local | 4 May 2021 10:41 am

An infectious disease specialist has called on people to get tested if they had been to a Tung Chung mall on or after April 11, after health authorities confirmed that three patients infected with a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus disease had visited Citygate, RTHK reports.

Health officials had previously failed to find the link between two patients confirmed with the N501Y mutated strain – an Indian businessman who arrived from Dubai and a foreign domestic helper who lives in Hong Kong – until it was confirmed on Monday that both had visited the Citygate mall on April 11.

A third patient confirmed with the variant had also been there on the same day.

Professor David Hui from the Chinese University of Hong Kong noted authorities are only asking people who had  been to the mall on that day to get tested, but he said everyone who had visited the shopping center on or after that date should undergo tests.

Authorities on Monday also said a housewife who arrived from India last month and spent three weeks in quarantine at Regal Oriental Hotel tested initially positive for the N501Y variant. She returned to her Tsim Sha Tsui home on April 25.

Speaking on an RTHK program on Tuesday, Hui said authorities should contact everyone who were quarantined at the same hotel with the woman at the same time, and test them again, to make sure there was no cross infection.

But Hui said there is no need to tighten social distancing measures for the time being.

“In general, we have to look at the epidemic situation. Like I said, even after the Indian man went into the community from April 9, he did not cause an outbreak,” Hui noted.

“It’s because there are anti-epidemic and social distancing measures in place. People wear masks and wash hands often. So even if a variant appears, it’s not necessary to make a reflex response to tighten the measures,” he said.


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