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Variant patients arrested over possible cover-up

Police on Saturday arrested a man and his girlfriend for providing misleading and insufficient information to health officials, in a case that may have led to Hong Kong’s first Covid-19 variant cluster.

The man, who had flown in from Dubai in March, was found to have a mutant strain of the coronavirus after a 21-day quarantine in April. He stayed in Hong Kong with his girlfriend who has also contracted the virus.

Three foreign domestic helpers who live in different districts were subsequently confirmed to have the same strain of the virus. Officials initially couldn’t find the link between the cases.

Extensive contact tracing by the Centre for Health Protection later found that the man and his girlfriend met some relatives in Chai Wan in April, and three people from the Chai Wan gathering met the three foreign domestic helpers in another gathering a couple of days later.

Health authorities had said people would be prosecuted if they were found to have deliberately concealed where they had been and who they had met.

Thousands of people have been sent to quarantine in light of the emergence of the Covid variant cases, including the residents of Jordan’s Parkes Building, where the man and his girlfriend stayed.

The Jordan residents began returning home on Saturday following 21 days in quarantine.

One resident said she was upset that officials only relaxed their quarantine policy after their stay was completed. She said she’d had no income but still had to pay the rent.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s coronavirus situation remains stable with authorities reporting five imported cases only.

The patients, four women and a baby boy, returned to the city from Indonesia and Spain.

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Last updated: 2021-05-08 HKT 23:28
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