Three more coronavirus cases bring HK tally to 53

February 14, 2020 11:43
The Centre for Health Protection said the three patients were linked to novel coronavirus cases confirmed earlier. Photo: HKEJ

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) under the Department of Health said three more people tested positive for novel coronavirus (Covid-19) infection, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the city to 53.

Among the newly added cases is a 43-year-old man who lives in Tuen Mun and is a relative of the 66-year-old male patient who became the 47th case confirmed on Feb. 11.

Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the CHP’s Communicable Disease Branch, told a news conference on Thursday that both patients attended a dinner with other relatives on Jan. 30, and the younger one might have been infected during the gathering, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Chuang said the 43-year-old man had been having coughs since Jan. 29, and diarrhea and vomiting since Jan. 31. He consulted private doctors on Jan. 31, Feb. 5 and Feb. 8.

He sought medical attention at Tuen Mun Hospital on Feb. 12 and was admitted for management before his respiratory sample tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Thursday.

The patient had no travel history during the incubation period and is now in a stable condition, but Chuang pointed out he went to work despite feeling ill.

As a precaution, more than 10 employees of the insurance firm where he works at Nathan Commercial Building in Mong Kok have been placed under quarantine, Chuang said.

The health department will decide whether the three clients he had contacted also need to be put under quarantine, depending on the situation, Chuang added.

The two other cases involve a 67-year-old woman and her 37-year-old son. They both had dinner with three earlier confirmed cases at Star Seafood Restaurant in North Point on the evening of Jan. 26.

In response to media inquiries, the Social Welfare Department said the 37-year-old man is a staff member of its Central and Western/Islands Social Security Field Unit.

Chuang also revealed that of the about 300 Hongkongers aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is still under quarantine in Yokohama, eight had been confirmed as Covid-19 patients, but the Security Bureau revised the number to 10 several hours later.

As Valentine’s Day was being celebrated on Friday, Chuang said she understands that it is difficult for people who live together or are very close to each other to maintain social distancing.

However, if any of them does not feel well, they should try to avoid seeing each other, and they have to wear masks, she added.

The Hospital Authority earlier this week said public hospital non-emergency services would be further adjusted.

Dr. Sara Ho Yuen-ha, HA chief manager for patient safety and risk management, told media that, starting next week, psychiatric wards will reduce the number of temporary discharge while newly admitted or returning patients will live in wards for new patients for 14 days to make sure they have not been infected.

As for specialist out-patient clinics, they will reschedule for some of their patients or make diagnosis over the phone, Ho said.

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