Cathay flight attendant among 9 new Covid-19 cases in HK

March 12, 2020 13:04
Hong Kong’s health authorities have confirmed that all members of an Egypt tour group have fallen victim to the novel coronavirus along with their tour guide. Photo: HKEJ

Nine people, including a Cathay Pacific flight attendant, tested positive for the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in Hong Kong on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the city to 129, authorities said.

Six of the new patients were members of a Hong Kong tour group that traveled to Egypt from Feb. 27 to March 7, the same group where three infection cases were confirmed on Tuesday, according to the health department's Centre for Health Protection (CHP).

Following the new cases, it is confirmed that all the nine members of the Egypt tour group -- comprising eight travelers plus a tour guide -- have fallen victim to the disease, which the World Health Organization has now officially labeled as a global pandemic.

Of the six newly confirmed cases from the tour group, two (123rd and 129th cases) involved a couple who live at the Bellagio residential estate in Sham Tseng. The husband, aged 57, works for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) and has some underlying illnesses. He was admitted to the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital on Tuesday.

His wife, with good past health, was sent to Yan Chai Hospital during contact tracing by the CHP on Tuesday and was transferred to the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) for treatment on Wednesday.

The 124th case involved a 59-year-old woman who is the wife of a patient under the 119th case confirmed on Tuesday and a member of the same tour group.

The woman, with good past health, developed cough and runny nose since March 6 and was admitted to the Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital for treatment before her respiratory specimen tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday.

Her son who lives with the couple is asymptomatic and under quarantine.

The patients classified as 126th and 127th cases are a couple living in a residential tower in the Laguna City estate in Kwun Tong district and who had taken the same overseas trip. The husband and wife, both aged 63 and with good past health, were found to have developed fever before being sent to a quarantine center on Tuesday. They are now receiving treatment at the United Christian Hospital.

Their daughter who lives with them is asymptomatic and will be arranged for quarantine, according to a government press release issued on Wednesday night.

The 125th case involved a 23-year-old man who lives in Telford Gardens in Kowloon Bay and is the tour group’s guide. The person, who had good past health, was found to have developed fever and is now at the United Christian Hospital for treatment.

His parents who live with him are asymptomatic and will be arranged for quarantine, the government press release said.

Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the CHP’s Communicable Disease Branch, told a news briefing on Wednesday afternoon that the tour group’s itinerary has been obtained but it is yet to be ascertained whether there was an outbreak in communities in Egypt.

The government is reaching out to Egyptian health authorities and making inquiries, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Chuang said the recent rise in the number of imported cases could give rise to related local infections.

The coronavirus situation is still evolving globally and Hong Kong has seen a few Covid-19 cases imported from some countries and regions with fewer infection cases, such as Egypt and India, noted Dr. Wong Ka-hing, controller of the CHP.

The expert urged members of the public to consider postponing non-essential travel.

As for the remaining three Covid-19 cases uncovered on Wednesday, one (122nd case) involved a Cathay Pacific female flight attendant.

The victim, who is aged 22, is considered a close contact of a 19-year-old female patient confirmed in Dongguan, Guangdong province after traveling on a CX320 flight that arrived in Hong Kong on March 8 from Madrid.

The flight attendant visited Amsterdam in the Netherlands from Feb. 21 to 24. She departed Hong Kong for Madrid, Spain on March 3 and later served on the flight CX320, in the economy class cabin, from Madrid back to Hong Kong.

The parents who she lives with are both asymptomatic and will be arranged for quarantine, according to the Wednesday government press release.

Among the other two cases, one (128th case) involved a 36-year-old woman who is the daughter of the 69-year-old male patient of the 58th case confirmed on Feb. 17. She, with good past health, had no recent travel history.

The 130th case involved a 31-year-old woman with good past health who arrived in Hong Kong with her husband and son from England on Feb. 29.

The woman developed fever since March 3 and sought treatment at Prince Margaret Hospital (PMH) on Tuesday where she was admitted for treatment. Her respiratory sample tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Wednesday.

The husband has been admitted to the PMH for treatment after developing fever. Her son and parents are asymptomatic and will be arranged for quarantine.

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