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New Mutant Strain Discovered in Hong Kong; Health Advisor Warns of a Fifth Wave of Covid-19

Story Highlights
  • N501Y and E484K mutants are found in the body of a patient
  • The Government needs to impose social distancing measures if the Covid cases rose rapidly
  • Infectious disease expert suggested the authorities to test the city's foreign domestic workers for the virus

A Health adviser in Hong Kong has warned its citizens of a fifth wave of Covid-19 which will emerge in the next couple of weeks. The health authorities discovered a case with a mutant strain after which they became sure of the fifth wave. Since 2019, the patient had not travelled outside Hong Kong but he was carrying the N501Y and E484K mutations in his body. Both types of the mutants are found in more infectious virus variants which were identified in South Africa and Brazil.

Chinese University respiratory medicine expert Professor David Hui Shu-cheong stated that if the Covid-19 infections rose rapidly, then the government needs to impose social distancing measures and strict protocols. Hui said, “It is especially worrying that the source of infection is still unknown, and so far there is no indication of where she(the patient) might have contracted the virus”. He further added, “The coming two weeks are therefore crucial… Given that it [involves] more infectious variants, confirmed cases could spike in a short period if a fifth wave is indeed occurring. Hopefully, that will not happen”.

Dr Joseph Tsang Kay-yan, infectious disease expert suggested that the authorities must test the city’s foreign domestic workers for the virus. In a radio programme, Tsang said, “It’s worth looking into… whether the virus has been spread among the helper community following the [latest case]”. So far, Hong Kong has identified four local mutant cases.

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