Officials found no Covid-19 infections after a residential building in Tsim Sha Tsui was put under lockdown on Tuesday after a resident tested positive. Meanwhile, previously low-risk New Zealand has been upgraded to medium-risk, with travellers arriving in Hong Kong from the country now being subject to 14 days of compulsory quarantine.

Hong Kong confirmed five positive cases on Wednesday. While all five patients were incoming travellers, four of them only tested positive after spending three to four days in the city, even after some completed quarantine.

Residents of Harbour Pinnacle, Tsim Sha Tsui under lockdown on November 9, 2021. Photo: GovHK.

Two of the patients, aged 29 and 57, were crew members on a cargo flight from Germany. Both men were exempt from quarantine and tested negative upon arrival last Saturday. But when tested again on Monday as required, both were found to be carrying the L452R mutant strain.

The residential building where the 29-year-old lives was put under lockdown, while the 57-year-old, who lives in a house, arranged to undergo quarantine at home.

Authorities found no cases after some 300 residents in Harbour Pinnacle, Tsim Sha Tsui underwent compulsory coronavirus tests. The residential building was put under a lockdown at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The compulsory testing was completed at 7 a.m. on Wednesday.

Another 34-year-old flight crew member also tested positive upon arrival from Qatar on Monday. He tested positive with the N501Y mutant strain.

The other two cases, involving two females aged 30 and 15, were possible re-positive cases. The 30-year-old arrived in Hong Kong on October 17 from the Philippines, and completed quarantine on November 7. She tested positive the next day, after testing negative six times during quarantine.

File photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The 15-year-old, who was unvaccinated, arrived from Italy via Qatar on October 14. She tested negative six times during quarantine, which ended last Thursday. But she tested positive on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Licensing Office in Admiralty was shut on Wednesday until Friday after a Covid-19 patient visited the office earlier. People who went to the office between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on October 19 or between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Monday must take a Covid-19 test.

Hong Kong has recorded 12,375 cases and 213 deaths since the pandemic began more than a year ago.

‘Medium-risk’ New Zealand

New Zealand will be listed as a medium-risk country from November 17, the Hong Kong government announced on Wednesday.

The move came after New Zealand authorities announced plans for “living with the virus.” It also means no countries will be listed as “low-risk” in Hong Kong, and all travellers arriving in the city will be subject to at least 14 days of compulsory quarantine.

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand. File photo: Wikimedia Commons.

“We note that the number of confirmed cases has been increasing in New Zealand. As the risk of the importation of cases has heightened, we must tighten quarantine requirements for persons arriving in Hong Kong from New Zealand,” the spokesperson said in a press statement published on Wednesday. New Zealand still maintains one of the world’s lowest Covid-19 infection rates.

Hong Kong has ruled out abandoning its “Zero Covid” strategy despite other economies reopening to international travel.

Sinovac recognised by UK

The British government said on Monday it will recognise the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine from November 22, meaning that travellers fully vaccinated with Sinovac in Hong Kong will not be required to self-isolate upon arrival in the UK.

“From 4am on Monday 22 November, the government will recognise vaccines on the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing,” the UK government said in a press statement on Monday.

“As a result, Sinovac, Sinopharm Beijing and Covaxin will be added to our list of approved vaccines for inbound travel, benefitting more fully vaccinated people from countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and India.”

Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.