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New COVID variant's arrival in Hong Kong sows Asiawide concern

Singapore bans entry from 7 African states; India orders 'rigorous screening'

Health workers in Hong Kong earlier this year: Authorities are on alert after finding two cases of a new, highly mutated variant in quarantining passengers.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong has detected two cases of the new "unusual" COVID-19 variant that is raising alarm worldwide, just as the city prepares to resume quarantine-free travel with mainland China.

The B.1.1.529 strain was found in two passengers quarantining at the Regal Airport Hotel. One man, who wore a face mask with a valve that blocks incoming air but may allow infectious exhalations to escape, is believed to have infected a second person in another room. Both carriers were fully vaccinated.

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