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Tourist tests positive for Wuhan virus in Hong Kong

2020-01-22 HKT 19:52
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  • Tourist tests positive for Wuhan virus in Hong Kong
Secretary for Health Sophia Chan on Wednesday said a tourist from Wuhan has tested positive for the new coronavirus that has infected hundreds in the mainland, and killed at least 17.

She said officials are waiting for results from confirmatory tests, but said he is "highly suspected" to have contracted the virus. Results are expected on Thursday.

The man, 39, arrived in Hong Kong with his family on Tuesday night, after taking train G1015 from Wuhan to Shenzhen North, then train G5607 to West Kowloon, arriving at 7.54pm.

He had sat on seat 10D in carriage three on the journey to Shenzhen North; and on seat 2D on carriage two for his trip to Hong Kong.

A new hotline, 2125 2122, has been set up for people who may have been on the same train, or think they may have come into close contact with the patient. People who sat in within two rows of the patient will be sent to quarantine camps for medical observation.

Chan said when the man arrived, health inspectors noticed that he was running a fever, and took him to Queen Elizabeth hospital for further tests, before he was transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital, where he remains in a stable condition.

Four of his family members, however, stayed the night at the Empire Hotel Kowloon on Kimberly Road in Tsim Sha Tsui before flying to Manila on Cebu Pacific flight 5J 111 on Wednesday morning. All are asymptomatic.

However, the hotel has been informed of the situation so they can disinfect the floor in which the tourists had stayed, and officials say the Philippines government will be notified so they can take the appropriate disease control measures.

Asked why the family were not quarantined, the Director of Health, Constance Chan, said they had already left by the time preliminary test results for the man became available.

Meanwhile, Sophia Chan said the patient also reported that he had not been to the wet market in Wuhan thought to be the epicentre of the outbreak; nor had he been to a hospital, come across wild animals or birds, or anyone with respiratory symptoms.

The MTR Corporation said the part of the West Kowloon terminus that the patient had walked through has been thoroughly disinfected.

Current temperature checks at border crossings will be maintained, Chan said, and additional preventative measures may be taken in future as needed.

She said the government will hold an emergency cross-departmental meeting to discuss how to deal with the situation, and give daily press briefings to keep the public apprised of what's happening.

Chan said the latest incident demonstrates that Hong Kong's 'stringent' health checks at border checkpoints are effective in identifying suspected cases.

However, she said cases elsewhere show that infected people may only develop fevers after they arrive, and urged people who are ill to go see a doctor immediately.

She also urged people not to travel to Wuhan unless absolutely necessary, and to keep wearing masks for 14 days after their return.

Macau also reported its first case on Wednesday, with the patient a businesswoman from Wuhan who had travelled to the SAR via a high-speed train to Zhuhai at the weekend.



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Last updated: 2020-01-22 HKT 20:34