A second person in Hong Kong has tested positive in preliminary tests for the mysterious and potentially fatal Wuhan coronavirus.
Just after 1:30am today, the Department of Health’s Centre for Health Protection issued a press release confirming late-night media reports that a 56-year-old man is undergoing more tests to confirm the diagnosis.
The man had traveled to Wuhan on Jan. 10 to visit his parents, flew from Wuhan to Shenzhen on Jan. 19, and then returned to Hong Kong via Lo Wu on the MTR by himself. The statement said that he had developed a fever on Saturday, Jan. 18, but didn’t have any respiratory symptoms.
On Sunday, the day he arrived in the SAR, he went to the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin for medical attention, but did not need to be hospitalized. He returned to the hospital for a follow-up on Tuesday, and was admitted for isolation and management as his fever hadn’t subsided.
He was then transferred to an isolation unit at Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung, and is now in a stable condition.
The confirmation of the second case comes hours after it was reported yesterday evening that a 39-year-old male tourist from Wuhan had become Hong Kong’s first confirmed case of the mystery coronavirus. The CHP said the man arrived in Hong Kong with his family on Tuesday night after taking a train from Wuhan to Shenzhen, and then a second train to West Kowloon via the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.
After port staff detected he had a fever, he was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for isolation and treatment, and last night was also transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital for further management.
Speaking to reporters at a 50-minute press briefing last night, Health Secretary Sophia Chan confirmed that while he was in the hospital, the first patient’s family spent the night at the Empire Hotel Kowloon on Kimberly Road in Tsim Sha Tsui before flying to Manila on Wednesday morning. All are asymptomatic.
When asked by reporters why the family were not quarantined, Director of Health Constance Chan said the family had already left by the time the preliminary tests became available, that the hotel had been informed of the situation so that they could disinfect the floors, and that the Philippines government had also been notified so that they could take appropriate disease control measures.
Sophia Chan said that patient also reported that he had not been to the wet market in Wuhan thought to be the epicenter of the outbreak, not had he been to a hospital, come across any wild animals, wild birds, or anyone with respiratory symptoms.
The Health Secretary also said that temperature checks at border crossings will be maintained and there may be additional preventative measures in the future if needed, and that an emergency cross-departmental meeting will be held on how to deal with the situation, and that people should not travel to Wuhan unless absolutely necessary.
Authorities are appealing to anyone who may have been in close contact with either men, or who were on the same train with them, to contact a new hotline (+852 2125 2122) so that they be quarantined.