Published: 14:45, August 13, 2021 | Updated: 23:48, August 13, 2021
HK sees 5 imported COVID-19 cases, virus found on frozen fish
By Wang Zhan

A tram with a government advertisement encouraging the public to take the COVID-19 vaccine passes through a street in Hong Kong’s Central area on Aug 8, 2021. (BERTHA WANG / AFP)

HONG KONG - Hong Kong logged five imported COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the city’s tally to 12,030, while a batch of imported frozen fish being sold at a wet market was found to be tainted with the novel coronavirus.

The newly confirmed patients were a 52-year-old woman flying in from Sri Lanka, a 24-year-old woman from Tanzania, a 16-year-old girl from Switzerland, a 69-year-old woman from the United States and a 33-year-old man from Bangladesh, according to a statement issued by the Centre for Health Protection (CHP).

A batch of imported fish and its packaging were tested positive on Thursday – for the first time since authorities sampled imported frozen and chilled foods and their packaging since mid-2020 to fend off possible transmissions

The woman from the US had been fully inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine in Hong Kong in May. She developed symptoms on Wednesday, according to the center.

READ MORE: HK launches probe after man given 2 COVID-19 shots in 1 day

The remaining four patients had not been vaccinated and all of them were asymptomatic.

Meanwhile, a batch of imported fish and its packaging tested positive on Thursday – for the first time since authorities sampled imported frozen and chilled foods and their packaging from mid-2020 to fend off possible transmissions.

People who had come into contact or handled the fish sold by the fish stall No 4 on the first floor of To Kwa Wan Market from Tuesday to Thursday are subject to a mandatory testing order. They are required to get tested by Saturday.

In a statement, the Centre for Food Safety of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) said Friday it conducted an investigation and confirmed that the batch of chilled pomfret fish had been sold to Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market and Cheung Sha Wan Wholesale Fish Market, and further distributed to five retailers.

The CHP and the FEHD have identified those who had come into contact with the affected product and arranged quarantine and compulsory testing for those concerned. As of Thursday night, the CHP had arranged quarantine for nine relevant staff members who had come into contact with the contaminated product, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, the authorities have traced and handled the tainted products, and conducted deep cleansing and disinfection at the affected locations. 

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Also on Friday, the latest shipment of about 937,000 doses of the BioNTech vaccine filled and at a plant in Baxter, Germany, arrived in Hong Kong.

Soon after its arrival, government staff carried out stringent checking and inspection of the vaccine to ensure that it complies with the product specifications and that the transportation process follows the relevant cold-chain requirements.

The government will put the vaccine in validated ultra-low temperature freezers to ensure its proper storage in accordance with the temperature specified by the drug manufacturer. 

As of Friday, more than 3.63 million people in Hong Kong have received at least the first dose of coronavirus vaccine, which translates into 53.4 percent of the population aged 12 and above in the city. Among them, over 2.81 million have been fully vaccinated.