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Virus outbreak scare prompts mass test at hospital

2020-04-04 HKT 20:35
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  • Virus outbreak scare prompts mass test at hospital
A top health expert played down fears of a mass coronavirus outbreak at a Yuen Long public hospital as around 150 healthcare workers and 74 patients were caught up in a scare, after an elderly patient was suspected to have caught the bug while being treated at the facility.

The 93-year-old patient tested positive for the virus though he had been mostly at the Pok Oi Hospital from early March.

Officials said the elderly man was admitted to hospital on March 10 but was discharged on Wednesday before being readmitted on Friday with a fever and vomiting.

Due to this, over 74 patients staying at the hospital are now to be put in quarantine and all of them will be tested for the virus as the elderly man had stayed in two different wards while he was there.

Around 150 staff and health workers at the hospital will also be tested for the virus.

Another nurse, who had helped the elderly patient on some medical procedure at his home on April 2, has also been sent to a quarantine camp.

But prominent University of Hong Kong microbiologist, Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, on Saturday ruled out chances of a large coronavirus outbreak at the hospital, saying the elderly man seemed to have caught the bug from another patient who was in a nearby bed.

Yuen was speaking after visiting the Pok Oi Hospital on Saturday to investigate. He was accompanied by the chief infection control officer at the Hospital Authority, Dr Raymond Lai, and some other CHP staff.

He said there was reason to believe that the elderly man had come down with the virus at the hospital and it's most probable that he got it from a 33-year-old person who was in the same ward.

The younger man is the 455th coronavirus case recorded in the city. He is thought to have got the infection during a recent trip to Europe.

Yuen, who is a government adviser on the epidemic, said their beds were six feet apart and he suspected some medical equipment used by both of them could be the problem.

Yuen said it's unlikely there will be a huge outbreak in the ward, as the pair did not use equipment like ventilators.

Last updated: 2020-04-04 HKT 23:30