Health officials have confirmed that Hong Kong’s first person to be cured of the Wuhan coronavirus was discharged from the hospital today after two tests for the disease came back negative.
Sara Ho, the Hospital Authority chief manager for patient safety and risk management, made the announcement at a 4:30pm press conference on this afternoon. She confirmed that the patient in question was case number 18, a 25-year-old man from To Kwa Wan.
Ho told reporters that the patient’s condition improved after being administered two anti-viral drugs. Staff at Princess Margaret Hospital carried out two confirmation tests on the patient at least 24 hours apart, and both came back negative, though the man will have to return later for a checkup.
Ho added that a few more people are expected to be discharged later today or in subsequent days
Asked by a reporter if it was safe to discharge case 18 so soon, Ho said in order to be discharged, a patient must be “clinically stable and symptoms should be improved,” and that the discharge criteria of two negative tests was “in line with international recommendations.”
When asked if the patient’s age was a factor in his speedy recovery, Ho said: “For a patient with no chronic illness, his ability to recover should be better, but we’re still collating information about this disease.”
At the same press conference, the Centre for Health Protection communicable disease chief Chuang Shuk-kwan confirmed that in the last 24 hours, a 51-year-old man had tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong to 50.
Chuang said that the the latest patient caught the virus from a colleague, case 37, one of the 11 family members sickened at a hotpot gathering in Kwun Tong. Chuang said that the man developed a fever on Feb. 3, and consulted a doctor a day later. He took a few sick days and returned to work on Feb. 6 to 9 wearing a mask.
He was admitted to Kwong Wah Hospital on Feb. 10 and subsequently tested positive for coronavirus. His colleagues will now be quarantined.