Two more Covid-19 cases take HK total to 131; death toll at 4

March 13, 2020 13:28
Hong Kong has recorded its fourth death from Covid-19 outbreak, with an elderly patient passing away in a hospital on Friday, according to local health authorities. Photo: HKEJ

Two more people tested positive for the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on Thursday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong to 131 along with one probable case.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the virus reached four locally, as an elderly patient who was diagnosed with the disease late last month passed away on Friday, authorities said.

Among the two new confirmed infections, one patient (the 131st case) is the husband of a 31-year-old woman who had been confirmed on Wednesday as the 130th Covid-19 case in the city, according to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) under the Department of Health.

The couple arrived in Hong Kong with their one-and-half year old son from London on Cathay Pacific flight CX250 on Feb. 29, and then stayed at a Kwai Chung flat belonging to the woman's parents.

The 37-year-old husband with good past health developed fever since March 3 and was admitted to the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) for treatment during contact tracing by the CHP on Wednesday before his respiratory sample tested positive for Covid-19 the next day.

The toddler son has developed runny nose and was sent to PMH for treatment. The woman's parents, meanwhile, are asymptomatic and have been arranged for quarantine.

According to media reports, the child has preliminarily tested positive for Covid-19. If confirmed through further testing, the boy could end up being the youngest patient in Hong Kong to have contracted the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the CHP’s Communicable Disease Branch, told a news briefing Thursday afternoon that the boy's parents had visited Metroplaza in Kwai Fong on March 1 and Sin Tat Plaza in Mong Kok on March 2.

The couple had slight fever on March 3 and mainly stayed home starting from the day to March 9.

On March 10 the man accompanied his wife to the PMH by a taxi and then returned home by another cab. The two taxi drivers are now being traced, Chuang said.

The flight the couple took has seen a total of five passengers contract Covid-19 so far. The CHP has contacted British authorities to inquire if there were other passengers having symptoms while aboard the same flight.

As for the other new confirmed Covid-19 case on Thursday, it involved a 31-year-old man who lives at an apartment located along Sai Ning Street in Kennedy Town.

The patient (the 132nd case), who had some underlying illness, developed fever, myalgia and diarrhea since March 8. After his deep throat saliva specimen tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, he was admitted to the Tuen Mun Hospital for treatment.

The man had travel history during the incubation period.

He had been to Boston in the United States between Feb. 22 and March 1 and then traveled from there to Manila in the Philippines via Tokyo, Japan on March 2. He returned to Hong Kong from Manila by flight Cathay flight CX930 on March 8.

His wife who lives with him is asymptomatic and will be arranged for quarantine.

Meanwhile, an 80-year-old man died on Friday morning at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan after contracting the novel coronavirus, bringing the death toll in Hong Kong from the virus to four.

The 80-year-old man, who was the 89th confirmed Covid-19 case, lived in North Point in the same building that houses a Buddhist temple that had been linked to a cluster of cases.

In other news, the CHP is following up on the contact tracing of a confirmed case outside Hong Kong after receiving a notification from China's National Health Commission.

The matter pertains to a 55-year-old woman who took Cathay flight CX857 from Seattle in the United States to Hong Kong. The lady, who was confirmed in Beijing as a Covid-19 case, traveled in economy class and arrived in Hong Kong on March 9, after which she took flight KA900 by Cathay Dragon to Beijing the same day.

People who travelled in the same cabin as the woman in the two above-mentioned flights have been urged to call the CHP hotline.

Dr. Wong Ka-hing, controller of the CHP, told a radio program on Thursday that he is not surprised at the World Health Organization’s decision to declare on Wednesday that the Covid-19 outbreak is now a global pandemic, as cases have been confirmed in more than 100 countries/regions.

Wong claimed that existing anti-Covid-19 measures in Hong Kong will not undergo big changes, but admitted that the situation in the city is yet to be fully under control.

On Thursday, Undersecretary for Food and Health Dr Chui Tak-yi suggested that people should avoid gathering in large numbers to dust down the graves of their ancestors on Ching Ming Festival, or tomb sweeping day, which falls on April 4 this year.

The advice was offered in view of the potential risk of transmission of the virus.

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