Hong Kong health authorities have found that more than 130 positive Covid-19 cases identified at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge control point on Tuesday were either indeterminate or negative due to possible sample contamination.

A man undergoes Covid-19 testing in a government test centre. File photo: GovHK.

The laboratory at the border crossing, which is managed by Sunrise Diagnostic Centre, reported that 136 outbound travellers tested positive or indeterminate on Tuesday.

The Department of Health issued a press release on Wednesday announcing it had noticed the number of reported cases “far exceeded” previous days’ counts.

The department said that preliminary re-test results showed that only three of the samples were positive, while nine were indeterminate. In addition, initial investigations suggested that there could have been environmental contamination in the laboratory.

The testing service provider was instructed by the health authority to disinfect the laboratory and equipment in question before it could resume normal operation on Thursday. It was also asked to submit a full investigation report to the Department of Health.

The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge. File photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

During Thursday’s regular Covid-19 media briefing, Chuang Shuk-kwan, the head of the Centre for Health Protection’s Communicable Disease Branch, said that two of the three preliminary-positive cases had been confirmed as negative, while the other was indeterminate.

“We will continue to follow up on the situation with [Sunrise Diagnostic Centre],” Chuang said.

Currently, all travellers departing for Macau or mainland China are required to undergo a nucleic acid test at border control points if they are leaving Hong Kong by land.

Hong Kong reported 1,650 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, of which 128 were imported. As of Wednesday, the city has registered 1,230,656 infections and 9,397 related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

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Peter Lee

Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.