Shenzhen unlikely to be source of variant: officials

Health officials said on Sunday that genetic sequencing shows that Shenzhen is unlikely to be the source of a Covid-19 variant that first infected a 17-year old Hong Kong girl, and then her mother, who shows no symptoms and hasn’t been vaccinated.

The Centre for Health Protection said the mother, a 53-year-old housewife, tested positive for the N501Y mutant strain. She showed no symptoms and had not been inoculated against the coronavirus.

Her 20-year-old sister, who was also unvaccinated, developed symptoms including cough, runny nose and diarrhoea, and has since tested preliminary positive for the virus.

Authorities said the 20-year-old had visited a range of different places in Tsuen Wan during her incubation period on May 29, such as Nina Mall 1&2, The Mills, D.Park shopping centre, Citywalk II and a restaurant on 75 Tai Pa Street.

She had also been to K11 Musea and Eslite in Tsim Sha Tsui, a restaurant on the third floor of Hai Phong Mansion, and Dragon Centre in Sham Shui Po on May 23.

People who’ve visited these places at the same time as the patient will be ordered to get tested for Covid.

Health officials said they had also worked with their counterparts in Guangdong to confirm that the variant strain was not similar to recent cases in Shenzhen.

They said genome sequencing had also revealed that it was not similar to previous cases in the SAR.

The government said late on Sunday that it’s suspending quarantine-free arrangements for Hongkongers returning from certain high-risk places in Guangdong province, including parts of Shenzhen experiencing a rising number of infections.

Meanwhile, six imported cases have also been reported on Sunday, involving people flying in from the Philippines, Indonesia, France, India and United Arab Emirates.
Last updated: 2021-06-07 HKT 01:39