The Hong Kong government said Thursday that it had detected two cases of a new variant identified in South Africa. Scientists have shown a “big leap in evolution” and warned that it could limit the effectiveness of the vaccine.
The infection was detected in a man who returned from South Africa to Hong Kong this month, and then in another man staying across the hall of the same quarantine hotel. (In Hong Kong, almost all foreign arrivals need to be quarantined in a hotel for 2-3 weeks.) According to the City Health Conservation Center, the virus sequence is identical in both men and causes airborne transmission. Suggests. Both men were vaccinated.
Further sequencing by the University of Hong Kong confirmed that the virus belongs to a new variant from South Africa, officials said, but information on the public health impact of the variant is “lacking at this time.” I admit.
Some Hong Kong experts have questioned the length and effectiveness of Hong Kong’s quarantine, and authorities have reported how many cases of quarantine hotel residents suspected of infecting people staying in other rooms. He said he was recording.
In the case of the latest variant infections, the government accused the first man of not wearing a surgical mask when opening the door of a hotel room, and of “insufficient airflow” in the hotel. .. As of Friday afternoon, there were no reports of infection in a nearby room.
The presence of new variants can complicate efforts to reopen the border between Hong Kong and mainland China. For months, Hong Kong officials have resumed a quarantine-free trip between China’s territory and the mainland, virtually the only place in the world pursuing a containment strategy for complete eradication of the virus. However, the strategy has damaged the city’s reputation as a global financial hub.
Mainland officials said Hong Kong has not done enough to control the virus, even though Hong Kong has recorded two locally infected cases in the last six months. The mainland has recently faced a new domestic outbreak. On Thursday, there the National Health Commission reported four new local incidents.
Hong Kong’s second official, John Lee, said Thursday evening that mainland officials told him earlier that day that Hong Kong “basically met” the conditions for reopening the border. He said details still need to be resolved, including the introduction of a mainland-style “health code” app that raises privacy concerns.
When asked by reporters whether the new variant would delay reopening on the mainland, Hong Kong officials simply said, “We guarantee that proper investigation and follow-up will be done in this regard.”
“Of course, we need to manage and control new risks,” he said.