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More travellers to be held for virus checks

2020-04-18 HKT 17:46
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  • More travellers to be held for virus checks
Health authorities said on Saturday that more travellers arriving in Hong Kong will be required to stay at AsiaWorld-Expo until the results of their coronavirus tests have come back, in a bid to catch asymptomatic Covid-19 carriers.

This comes after days of only single-digit increases in the number of new virus cases, with just two added to the tally on Saturday.

Up until now, the requirement to wait for test results at AsiaWorld-Expo only applied to people returning from Europe and the United States.

But starting from Sunday, all flight passengers landing in the morning will also be required to wait for their results at the testing centre before they are allowed to go home and undergo a two-week quarantine.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said they could only keep travellers arriving in the morning for the tests because of time and capacity constraints.

“If we hold the travellers in the morning, we can have some time to process the tests and get the results in the evening. But if they arrive in the afternoon, they’d have to stay overnight,” she said.

“So it’s very difficult to arrange for a large number of people to stay overnight at the AsiaWorld-Expo. We’re actively exploring other options to see whether we can hold and test all the travellers in Hong Kong.”

The two new coronavirus infections recorded on Saturday bring the SAR's total so far to 1,023.

One of the patients is a 4-year-old girl who returned from the UK last Friday. Her mother had tested positive for the virus when they arrived.

The other case involves a 29-year-old man who returned from the Philippines on Friday.

About 450 coronavirus patients are still being treated in hospital in Hong Kong, with nine of them in a critical condition.