Two to sit dse in isolation camp

Top News | Jane Cheung 22 Apr 2021

Special arrangements have been made to allow form six students in quarantine to take their Diploma of Secondary Education exams at the Penny's Bay isolation camp when the public exams start tomorrow, the Examinations and Assessment Authority said.

One of the DSE venues, Shung Tak Catholic English College in Yuen Long, yesterday announced its closure until May 3 after a student was confirmed to be stricken with Covid-19.

The school was supposed to hold the exams for visual arts tomorrow, chemistry on Saturday and liberal studies on Monday.

Around 280 affected students will take their assessments at back-up venues in Ho Ngai College in Tuen Mun and Lai King Assessment Centre.

Two DSE candidates deemed to be close contacts have applied to sit for their exams at Penny's Bay tomorrow and from Monday to Friday.

An authority spokesman said arrangements would be made for the two to take the assessment in separate rooms that have been disinfected.

Each room has a mobile phone set up on a tripod to record the entire exam process, with invigilators monitoring the proceedings from outside.

Although each room comes with a bathroom, candidates must show a note card to the invigilator stationed outside the window to get permission to use it.

At the end of the exam, candidates will be asked to place their answer scripts, barcode labels and other related materials inside a plastic bag for collection by the invigilator.

"If candidates are put under mandatory quarantine, they should try to apply to the EAA to take the DSE at the quarantine center with relevant documents at least three working days before exams," the spokesman said.

That came as experts said there is inadequate evidence to confirm that S-shaped hooks for meal delivery were behind the transmissions between three residents at a Tsim Sha Tsui quarantine hotel, as health authorities have suggested.

Another possibility is air transmission, infectious disease expert Ho Pak-leung from the University of Hong Kong said. "If in the patient's infectious period, he had opened the door for fresh air without wearing a mask, he could have released the virus to air in the corridor," he said.

Government adviser David Hui Shu-cheong proposed conducting more tests during the 21-day quarantine of arrivals.

"The chances of testing positive after 14 days of arrival is 3 to 4 percent," Hui said. "Maybe they can do more tests after the 14th day, rather than waiting until the 19th day for a third sample."

He said it is safer to keep the quarantine duration at 21 days for high-risk areas but that it would be difficult to extend it further, as it could deter people from coming to Hong Kong.

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