‘RTHK host sample likely contaminated by Sinovac jab’

Health officials said on Saturday that a contaminated swab might have led to the preliminary positive Covid-19 test result of an RTHK host, and further tests showed she was not infected after all.

She was at a party hosted by legislator Witman Hung and attended by around 180 people at a restaurant in Wan Chai on Monday, and officials said about a dozen guests who were considered to be her close contacts and sent into quarantine will be arranged to leave the Penny’s Bay camp.

Broadcasting House on Broadcast Drive had been closed overnight to be thoroughly disinfected.

University of Hong Kong microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung said it’s believed that the contaminated swab came from the clinic of her husband, who’s a private practitioner.

Yuen said the doctor had vaccinated 13 people with Sinovac in his office before he used a swab to take a specimen from his wife.

He said laboratory tests showed the strain of virus found in the specimen is the same one used to make Sinovac, and is not any of the active strains circulating in the community.

He inspected the clinic and said environmental samples have been taken for further investigation.

“How exactly [the sample] was contaminated, we are not very clear yet. But we can be very certain that the positive result did not come from an infection. In addition, the doctor’s wife was tested twice in hospital and both tests came back negative,” said Yuen, adding her lungs were clear, and that she did not have an inflammatory reaction or any other symptoms.

Yuen noted the doctor did nothing wrong, saying he had washed his hands before and after vaccinating his patients, and his clinic was clean and well-managed.

He said, though, doctors may consider having their offices cleaned with diluted bleach every time after giving a jab to reduce the chance of contamination.

The expert again called on people to keep their masks on, avoid large gatherings and get jabbed.

“Every time things go wrong, it’s because people remove their masks to eat, or remove their masks to drink,” he said.

Another guest who arrived at the party after the RTHK host left was confirmed with the coronavirus, so around 100 guests still have to be quarantined.