2 more test positive for Wuhan virus, hospital worker arrested for allegedly stealing masks

The entrance to Princess Margaret Hospital’s Accident and Emergency ward. Photo (for illustration): Malcolm Koo via Wikimedia Commons
The entrance to Princess Margaret Hospital’s Accident and Emergency ward. Photo (for illustration): Malcolm Koo via Wikimedia Commons

Two more people have tested positive for the mysterious and potentially fatal Wuhan coronavirus, bringing the total number of Hong Kong cases to 12.

According to a statement by the Centre for Health Protection published in the early hours of this morning, the two new patients are a 37-year-old woman and a 75-year-old man. Both live in Hong Kong.

The woman lives at the Coronation, an apartment complex in Yau Ma Tei, and is the daughter of a couple from Wuhan who arrived in Hong Kong last week and subsequently tested positive for the virus.

She stayed at the W Hong Kong Hotel in Kowloon with her parents from Jan. 22 to 28, then visited the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons hotels with her parents. She then returned home to Yau Ma Tei after accompanying her parents to Queen Mary Hospital, and was sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for isolation and management two days later after developing a cough.

The man lives in Hong Mei House, Cheung Hong Estate in Tsing Yi. He visited Shunde in Guangdong province from Dec. 30 to January 7, and also took day trips to Macau from Jan. 10 to 14. He went to Princess Margaret Hospital on Jan. 24 after developing a cough and shortness of breath.

His wife, daughter, and son are currently asymptomatic, but are being transferred to Lady MacLehose Holiday Village for quarantine.

News of the two new cases come as Hong Kong faces a shortage of face masks after panic-buying sprees saw scores of people line up for hours to get their hands on limited supplies.

Yesterday, a 56-year-old female hospital worker was arrested for stealing face masks and surgical gloves.

Ming Pao reported that at 6pm on Thursday, police received a report from Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung that 14 surgical masks, 22 N95 masks, and some surgical gloves had gone missing.

Police arrived at the hospital and arrested the woman, and the case is currently being investigated by the Sham Shui Po police district’s criminal investigation team.

Addressing the mask shortage, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung told reporters last night that more than 30 million face masks will be made available for Hong Kong retailers.

“In the last week or so, we’ve managed to facilitate eight millions pieces of masks to come to Hong Kong, some arrived today, some arrived yesterday, and some are arriving tomorrow. So I’m sure in the next few days, more masks will be available on the market.

“Secondly, 24 million pieces of masks are ready for shipment or about to be manufactured,” he said. “We expect the 24 million pieces to come into Hong Kong in the not too distant future.”

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