Policeman tests positive for coronavirus, taking HK cases to 69

February 21, 2020 13:54
Hong Kong’s health authorities have confirmed more cases of coronavirus infection in the city, including one involving a 48-year-old policeman. Photo: HKEJ

A policeman has tested positive for Covid-19 in Hong Kong, becoming the first law enforcement official in the city to be infected with the novel coronavirus, authorities said.

The victim, the 69th confirmed case of the coronavirus in Hong Kong, is a 48-year-old police officer who lives in Yau Tong. 

According to a government press release issued Thursday night, the policeman developed fever and cough on Feb. 18 and sought treatment at Kwun Tong Community Health Centre the next day.

His deep throat saliva specimen tested positive for the Covid-19 virus following checks under the "Enhanced Laboratory Surveillance Programme" which was expanded from Feb. 19 to cover the patients attending the General Out-patient Clinics and Accident and Emergency Departments.

The patient was transferred to the United Christian Hospital (UCH) for isolation and treatment on Thursday, and he is now in stable condition, the government press release said.

The police officer’s home contacts, namely his wife and mother-in-law, both developed symptoms and they will be transferred to the UCH for treatment as well, it said.

While the officer had no travel history during the incubation period, he attended a gathering at the Star Seafood and Roasted Goose Restaurant in Sai Ying Pun on Feb. 18, from around 5:30 pm to 10 pm.

There were 59 other police officers at the same banquet, according to another government press release issued later in early hours of Friday.

Hence, all those 59 officers are defined as close contacts and must be quarantined based on advice given by the Department of Health, the police said in the press release.

Preliminary information provided by the police showed that the infected officer had performed his police duty between Feb. 4 and 16 mainly in Chai Wan, North Point and Aberdeen.

As for the 59 close contacts, none of them have shown any suspicious symptoms so far, according to the police.

A police source told the Hong Kong Economic Journal that the homes and workplaces of all the 60 police officers are being thoroughly disinfected.

The force would consider disinfecting other facilities, including police vehicles, in the days ahead, the police source added.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) under the Department of Health (DH) on Thursday said three more people tested positive for novel coronavirus (Covid-19) infection as of 8 pm that day, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the city to 68, plus one other probable case.

Now a police officer who lives in the Yau Mei Court estate in Yau Tong has been confirmed as the 69th case. He is the first member of the police force to contract the virus.

According to the infected officer’s wife, her husband had been a frequent visitor to a Yau Tong eatery named Super Super Congee & Noodle, where a cashier working at the restaurant, a 38-year-old woman, is now known to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (67th case).

According to a government press release, the woman, who lives in Hiu Lai Court residential estate in Kwun Tong with her husband and son, developed cough and fever on Feb. 10 and then consulted a private doctor twice, before she sought medical attention at the UCH on Feb. 19.

At the UCH, she was admitted for treatment and later her respiratory sample tested positive for the Covid-19. She is now in stable condition.

Her husband is asymptomatic and will be arranged for quarantine. As for her son, he had on and off cough since Jan. 24 and will be sent to the UCH for further examination.

Revealing details of other cases, the CHP said the 68th confirmed infection involved a 58-year-old male taxi driver who lives in Yuen Long.

The man consulted a private doctor twice, after developing fever cough on Feb. 8. He then sought medical attention at the North District Hospital on Feb. 18 and was admitted to the hospital for treatment on Thursday due to syncope before his respiratory sample tested positive for Covid-19. He is now in a stable condition.

As for the 66th case, it pertained to a 75-year-old man who is the husband of an 83-year-old female patient who had been confirmed on Wednesday as the 63rd case.

Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the CHP’s Communicable Disease Branch, told a news conference that although the man's respiratory specimen on Wednesday tested negative for Covid-19, the result of a computed tomography (CT) scan, which showed unclear scans, pointed to the possibility of him having contracted pneumonia.

The 75-year-old man’s wife, daughter and son-in-law had all become confirmed patients, Chuang said, adding that, based on an epidemiological condition, the elderly man had contacts with Covid-19 patients, so the DH had listed his case as a probable one, handling it the same way as confirmed cases.

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