HK faces second wave of virus infections as imported cases surge

March 17, 2020 13:27
People walk through the near-empty arrivals hall of the Hong Kong International Airport. The number of imported Covid-19 cases is likely to increase as more Hongkongers return from study or business trips abroad, health authorities said. Photo: Bloomberg

Nine people tested positive for novel coronavirus infection on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong to 157, plus one probable case, the Department of Health's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said.

All but one of the new patients had recent travel history, and all of the new cases recorded on Sunday involved people who traveled outside Hong Kong during the incubation period.

Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the CHP’s Communicable Disease Branch, told a news briefing that Hong Kong was seeing a “second wave” of Covid-19 infections because most of the newly confirmed cases in recent days were imported ones, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The 150th patient is a 37-year-old man with good past health who traveled from Hong Kong to the Netherlands on Feb. 28 for a business trip. After he returned to Hong Kong from Amsterdam aboard Flight CX270 on March 15, he had been staying alone at Hotel ICON in Tsim Sha Tsui East.

He went to the Yau Ma Tei Jockey Club General Out-patient Clinic on Sunday and was transferred to Kwong Wah Hospital for admission and treatment, before his respiratory sample tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday.

He was then transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).

The 151st case involves a 30-year-old foreign tourist who had traveled to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates between Feb. 25 and March 10. He took Emirates Flight EK380 from Dubai and arrived in Hong Kong on March 10.

Since his arrival, he had been staying alone at Whole Sunshine International Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, according to a government press release on Monday night.

The 156th case involves a 59-year-old man with good past health who visited Switzerland on Jan. 20 and then traveled to Austria on Feb. 28 before returning to Switzerland on March 6. He took a flight from Switzerland and arrived in Hong Kong on March 12. He had been staying alone at Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong since his arrival.

The 152nd case involves a 73-year-old man with good past health who lives at Tower 1 of Oceania Heights in Tuen Mun. He joined a group tour from Hong Kong to Egypt between March 5 and 13 and returned to Hong Kong on March 14.

He went to Tuen Mun Hospital on March 15 after having a headache, fever and coughing. His respiratory sample tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday.

Two of the nine newly confirmed cases are associated with a 35-year-old man who became the 143rd confirmed case on Monday. They include a 26-year-old woman (the 53rd case) who is his girlfriend and a 58-year-old man (the 155th case) who is his driver.

The 35-year-old man and his girlfriend traveled to Hokkaido, Japan between Feb. 26 and March 11.

The driver with good past health had no recent travel history. His wife and daughter were symptomatic and were arranged for admission to hospital.

The 154th case involves a 42-year-old woman with good past health who traveled to Britain, Germany and Austria between March 7 and March 14. She tested positive for Covid 19 on Monday shortly after her return from London.

Her husband and daughter who live with her are asymptomatic; they would be quarantined.

The two remaining cases involve a 42-year-old woman (the 157th case) and 41-year-old woman (the 158th case). They both traveled to Vancouver and Whistler in Canada between March 6 and 14. They took Flight CX837 (business class) from Vancouver on March 14 and arrived in Hong Kong on March 15.

Chuang said as more Hongkongers who study or travel for business trips overseas are expected to come home, it is very likely that the number of imported Covid-19 cases will increase.

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