A microbiologist said on Saturday that one of two individuals who reportedly had COVID-19 and attended an official’s birthday party in Hong Kong had a false positive test result, likely reducing the number of people who will be forced to quarantine, The Associated Press reported.
A woman returned two negative COVID-19 tests after a preliminary one indicated she had tested positive for COVID-19, microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung said, according to the news outlet. Officials believe that the woman’s swab may have been tainted because she had been tested by her husband, who is a doctor, and had earlier vaccinated over a dozen people.
That may indicate that around 80 individuals who were previously ordered to quarantine following Shenzhen Qianhai Authority official Witman Hung’s birthday may be able to avoid quarantine protocols, AP noted.
However, news reports from Hong Kong say that roughly 100 people will still be required to quarantine given that the other person is a confirmed case, according to the news outlet.
Dozens of people were required to quarantine by Hong Kong officials after people, including close to 20 lawmakers and nine government officials, partook in a birthday event on Jan. 3. Two people initially tested positive for COVID-19, and the birthday participants were ordered on Friday to go to a government facility.
Hong Kong Health Secretary Sophia Chan said on Saturday that the number of people who participated now stood at 180, compared to a previous figure of 170, according to the AP.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Thursday that she was “disappointed” that top government officials had participated in the event.
“I must say I am disappointed. We have been mounting an all-out effort in fighting the epidemic,” she said, the AP noted. “As top government officials, there is all the more reason for us to set a good example and avoid attending private gatherings that may pose a major hazard.”