Man from Dubai remanded in custody

A man linked to a small outbreak of a mutant strain of coronavirus in Hong Kong was remanded in custody on Monday, after being arrested at the weekend on suspicion of lying to health authorities.

The 30-year-old, who arrived in the SAR from Dubai in March, was found to be infected after he completed 21 days of quarantine and went out into the city. Authorities said last month that he most likely caught the variant strain while staying at the hotel, in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The man’s 31-year-old girlfriend was later found to have contracted the virus, as did three foreign domestic helpers whose infections were later traced back to the couple.

The man is accused of knowingly providing false information to officials – an offence under the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation – by claiming that he only visited Tsim Sha Tsui and Jordan on April 10 and 11 and did not attend any gatherings.

During a mention hearing at Kowloon City Magistracy, prosecutors said the defendant only told immigration officers this month that he had also visited Discovery Bay, Tong Fuk, Citygate Outlets and the Novotel Citygate hotel in Tung Chung.

The court refused to grant bail and adjourned the hearing to May 31.

The man’s girlfriend was also arrested on Saturday. She is accused of failing to provide information for contact-tracing. She was in hospital and did not attend the court hearing. Her case will be heard on Friday at the earliest.