Hong Kong Disneyland was closed on Wednesday following the imposition of a compulsory Covid-19 screening order, triggered by a weekend visitor to the attraction who recently arrived from overseas testing positive for the virus.
The recipient and handlers of a Hong Kong parcel found to contain traces of the coronavirus were also ordered to undergo screening in a separate incident, although no infections in the city relating to that discovery have been detected.
The package arrived from Inner Mongolia following routine Covid-19 tests in the northern Chinese region, with Hong Kong officials only notified of the contamination once the parcel was in the city.
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Meanwhile, Air India has been banned from operating Delhi to Hong Kong flights until November 30. The prohibition was triggered by a Sunday passenger testing positive on arrival in Hong Kong and another who failed to comply with the city’s disease control regulations.
Also on Wednesday, Hong Kong confirmed three new Covid-19 cases, involving arrivals from Pakistan and South Korea. Fewer than five people tested preliminary-positive. The city’s tally of confirmed infections now stands at 12,391, with 213 related deaths.
Sunday’s theme park guest was a 29-year-old domestic helper who arrived in Hong Kong from Indonesia on October 15. She was one of two suspected “re-positive” cases being investigated by the Centre for Health Protection (CHP), meaning their results could potentially be attributed to traces of the virus left over from a previous infection.
The helper completed 21 days of mandatory quarantine on her arrival in Hong Kong, returning an indeterminate reading on Monday at a community testing centre, followed by a positive result upon admission to hospital. Her viral load at that point was low.
Before leaving Indonesia, the woman, who was fully inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine, tested positive for the coronavirus on October 13. A subsequent negative test allowed her to board the flight to Hong Kong.
Anyone – including workers and visitors – who was at Hong Kong Disneyland between 11am and 6pm on Sunday must get tested no later than Thursday.
The earliest the attraction could reopen was Friday, but a spokeswoman said that depended on the results of Covid-19 tests on visitors and staff.
The park closure was aimed at allowing staff to complete the test as soon as possible, Disneyland said in a statement. A mobile specimen collection station has been set up in the staff car park for employee testing.
About 94 per cent of the resort’s full-time staff have already received two doses of vaccine.
The other suspected re-positive case under investigation involves a 65-year-old man who arrived from Singapore in late October and completed his required 14-day quarantine.
A test completed on Monday came back positive and he was found to be carrying the L452R mutation, which is related to a few coronavirus variants, including the more transmissive Delta one.
The man, who had received two doses of the Moderna vaccine, previously tested positive for the virus in Singapore on October 14 but negative on October 26 before flying to Hong Kong.
On the virus-contaminated parcel, the Health Commission of Guangdong Province alerted Hong Kong on Tuesday evening to the presence of the coronavirus on external packaging.
Sent from the northern province on November 7, the parcel was delivered to a recipient in Hong Kong on November 13. The recipient has already disposed of the packaging and the clothes packed in the parcel have been washed.
“In general, the Covid-19 virus cannot survive more than a few days in a non-chilled environment, therefore the possibility of the concerned package carrying a transmissible live virus after arriving in Hong Kong is relatively low,” the CHP said.
It said that as a precaution the recipient and staff at a local logistics warehouse who handled the parcel were asked to undergo tests. Environmental samples collected at the warehouse returned negative.
Separately, 82 per cent of respondents in a Democratic Party survey supported relaxing the social-distancing rule that capped public gatherings at four people.
Public views were more evenly split when asked whether Hong Kong should drop its zero-Covid strategy and pursue a course of “living with the virus”, with 35 per cent of the 673 people polled supporting the current approach versus 42 per cent who wanted a shift.
Ramon Yuen Hoi-man, the party’s health care policy spokesman, said the government had permitted large-scale events such as the marathon to take place, while still banning protests.
“The government is using politics to override science … the government must listen to the public and relax the social-distancing rules as soon as possible.”
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