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Woman tests positive 10 days after ending quarantine

2020-03-11 HKT 18:17
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  • Woman tests positive 10 days after ending quarantine
Wendy Wong reports
Hong Kong health authorities say a woman who had spent 14 days in quarantine because her father had caught the new coronavirus has herself now been diagnosed with the illness – ten days after her isolation period ended.

Officials believe the 36-year-old woman did catch the virus from her 69-year-old father, who was confirmed to be infected on February 17, but that she had an exceptionally long incubation period.

The woman left quarantine on March 1 and only started to feel ill a week later.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said this case does not suggest that the 14-day quarantine period being implemented to help contain the spread of Covid-19 is insufficient.

"There's a published study that among 100 cases, one of the cases had an incubation period of more than 14 days. So, 99 percent of cases had an incubation within the 14 days. So, I think on the balance of practicability and safety, a quarantine period of 14 days, plus 14 days of medical surveillance, is sufficient," she said.

Chuang added that the woman had been in a single room while in quarantine, and the chance of her having caught the virus there was "very, very low".

At the centre's daily briefing on the outbreak, officials revealed that another six people who had recently been on a tour to Egypt have either been confirmed as having the virus, or have initially tested positive for it. Then, later in the evening, the centre issued a statement saying all six were now confirmed cases.

Three members of the tour group had earlier been diagnosed with Covid-19, and now their guide and five more holidaymakers are affected.

The group had been in Egypt since February 27 and returned to Hong Kong on March 7.

Dr Wong Ka-hing, who heads the Centre for Health Protection, urged people to avoid all non-essential travel, saying even places with few reported cases might not be safe.

"It is so rapidly changing that I think nobody can predict which will be the next country to have an outbreak, or even an explosive outbreak," he said.

The centre also confirmed that a Cathay Pacific flight attendant has come down with the disease.

The 22-year-old woman worked on a flight from Madrid to Hong Kong last Saturday. She had served meals to a 19-year-old woman who was later diagnosed with Covid-19 in Dongguan.

The new confirmed cases, including those announced later in the evening, bring Hong Kong's tally to date to 129.

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Last updated: 2020-03-11 HKT 22:35