No cases found in Harbour Pinnacle lockdown

Health authorities on Wednesday lifted the lockdown at the Harbour Pinnacle building in Tsim Sha Tsui at 7 am. Around 300 residents were tested and no Covid cases were found. The lockdown was sparked by fears that an air-crew member – whose job means he is usually quarantine-exempt – may have been spreading a mutant variant of the virus.

The upmarket residential building on Minden Avenue, was sealed off at 7 pm on Tuesday for compulsory testing, after a resident on Monday tested preliminary positive for the L452R mutant strain. It is found in the highly-infectious delta variant, among others.

The resident – a 29-year-old man, who works as a Cathay Pacific cargo flight crew member, had arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday on flight CX2066 from Germany.

At the airport, he initially tested negative for Covid. But at a routine follow-up test at a Yau Ma Tei community testing centre on Monday, he tested preliminary positive with a high viral load. He also developed symptoms the same day.

The man, who had received his BioNTech jabs in Hong Kong in April and May, was one of four imported preliminary positive cases reported by the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) late on Tuesday. Another one of the four was also a crew member on the same flight.

The 57-year-old man – who lives in Headland Village, Discovery Bay – had also tested preliminary positive with the same mutant strain. He had his BioNTech shots at about the same time as the 29-year-old and has no symptoms. Other residents at his house have been sent to quarantine.

On Monday, infectious diseases expert Dr Joseph Tsang of the Hong Kong Medical Association told RTHK that the government could consider imposing quarantine rules on aircrew beginning with Cathay Pacific, and expanding it to other airlines later. He made the comment after a man from London was found to be carrying the so-called “Delta plus” AY. 4.2 variant

The remaining imported cases are a 30-year-old woman from the Philippines and a 15-year-old female from Italy. The CHP has not ruled out the possibility that they may be repositive cases.