The woman, 47, is one of the three cases confirmed by health authorities on Tuesday. The other two involved travellers who arrived from the UK and Oman.
Officials said the woman, who lives in Tung Chung, works as a waitress at one of Cathay Pacific’s lounges, the Wing, that serves transit and outbound travellers.
“For all the outbound travellers, I understand many of them would have testing before they go out of Hong Kong to other places, and even if they do not have testing, the risk of acquiring local infection from the Hong Kong community is quite low,” Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said.
“So, for the transit travellers, because they can come from other places and the epidemic situation all over the world is very severe, mostly, so I think the risk for transit travellers to pass the illness to her is the highest.”
Chuang also believes the patient was infected recently, because three recent Covid tests taken before last weekend had come back negative.
Chuang said the patient had planned to get vaccinated at a clinic last Sunday, but was told by a doctor to get tested because she had been coughing for about a month.
Subsequent tests from the community testing centre and the accident and emergency department of the hospital where she’s being treated came back positive.
About 30 close contacts of the woman have been sent to quarantine centres, and compulsory testing orders were issued for 15 premises that she had visited.
There were no cases from the Tung Chung block where she lives in.