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Filipina DH quarantined after sharing flat with 2 coronavirus patients

Posted on 26 January 2020 No comments
By Daisy CL Mandap

Lake Silver in Ma On Shan, where the Filipina shared a flat with HK's 4th and 5th known coronavirus cases

A Filipina domestic worker in Ma On Shan was put under quarantine yesterday, Jan. 25, after two of her employer’s house guests tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus, the fourth and fifth such confirmed cases in Hong Kong.

The information was confirmed today, Jan 26, by Consul General Raly Tejada, who said the Filipina was healthy and showed no signs of infection.

“However, she was contact traced to her employer’s two guests in Ma On Shan who were tested positive,” said CG Tejada. “Given Hong Kong’s strict protocols and heightened emergency alert, even healthy individuals maybe subjected to quarantine procedures if there is proof of contact.”
He assured that the Consulate is in close contact with the HK Department of Health and will extend assistance to the worker if necessary.

“We are hoping she remains healthy and eventually released,” he said.

He added the Consulate is ready to help any Filipino needing assistance.

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It is not clear how long the Filipina would be quarantined. It is the first reported case of a Filipino being affected by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus, which was first traced to the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam yesterday raised the highest emergency level for Hong Kong, saying the situation had reached a “critical point,” two days after Hong Kong’s first two confirmed cases.
It's mask season in HK again as the CE raises emergency alert level
She also confirmed reports schools across the city would reopen on Feb. 17, two weeks later than was previously announced.

The annual Hong Kong marathon, scheduled for Feb 5 and 6, has also been scrapped, to prevent large numbers of people congregating. All public celebrations of the Lunar New Year have also been shelved for the same reasons.

And today, Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland announced they would close indefinitely in response to the heightened response to the contagion.
Ocean Park and HK Disneyland have closed down as part of emergency measures
The Hospital Authority also ordered the suspension of all general visiting arrangements, volunteer services and clinical attachment programs at public hospitals.

However, Mrs Lam rejected calls for the border with the mainland to be closed, saying such a move would be “inappropriate and impractical.”

The heightened alert in Hong Kong echoes steps taken by most major cities across China, including Beijing and Shanghai, as the rate of contamination continued to mount.

As of this morning, more than 2,000 people have tested positive for the virus nationwide, with at least 56 confirmed deaths.

Wuhan and most other cities in Hubei have been locked down to contain the spread of the virus, trapping millions of people inside the affected area.

In response, several countries, including the United States, France and Russia have begun taking steps to evacuate their trapped nationals from Wuhan, where medical supplies are reported to be running low, while thousands of people swarm hospitals for check-ups and treatments.

There are more than 11 million people in Wuhan, and 58.5 million in the entire Hubei province.

In other parts of the world, the number of confirmed cases mounts by the day, although all have been traced back to Wuhan so far.

Reports indicate some patients did not show the usual symptoms, including a two-year-old boy in Shenzhen who had no fever, cough or sore throat, but tests showed he had pneumonia and was  positive for the coronavirus.

The latest to report a confirmed case was Canada, which described the patient as a man in his 50s who recently flew from Wuhan to Guangzhou, then on to Toronto on Jan. 23.

Singapore and Malaysia confirmed four cases each Saturday, and Japan, its third. France reported three cases Friday, the first in Europe; and the US reported a second case, that of a woman who had returned to Chicago from China.

Hong Kong also confirmed its latest three cases Saturday, after reporting the first two on Friday.

The latest cases involved the 62-year-old woman and her 63-year-old husband in Ma On Shan, who had been in Wuhan within two weeks before getting sick. They were taken to Prince of Wales Hospital in Shatin where they are still being treated.

They stayed in a flat in Lake Silver in Ma On Shan with their daughter and the Filipina helper. Their daughter was also taken to hospital with fever, while the Filipina who was quarantined did not show any symptoms.

Earlier on the same day, another 62-year-old woman tested positive at Tuen Mun Hospital. She arrived in Hong Kong on Jan. 19 from Shenzhen North Station, and developed a fever and cough the next day. She had been to a wet market and visited a relative in a hospital in Wuhan who was admitted with cough.

Her husband, daughter and son-in-law with whom she stayed in a flat in South Hillcrest in Tuen Mun have been quarantined although they were all asymptomatic.

The first confirmed case in Hong Kong was a 39-year-old mainland tourist who had taken the high speed train from Wuhan to Shenzhen, and then on to Hong Kong on Thursday, Jan 23. He was found with fever at the West Kowloon station.

His four family members went on to spend the night at the Empire Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, then flew out the next morning to Manila aboard Cebu Pacific 5J111. Philippine health authorities said they were not tested for the virus as they did not have fever on arrival.

The second confirmed case is a 56-year-old Hong Kong resident who had visited Wuhan. He submitted himself for tests at the Prince of Wales Hospital after experiencing a slight fever.

Hong Kong health authorities said three people who had been in close contact with the two had been placed in hospital quarantine. Another five people had been put in quarantine at one of two holiday camps set for the purpose: Lady MacLehose Holiday Village in Sai Kung, and Lei Yue Mun Park.
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New arrivals boost Filipino DH population in HK to nearly 220,000

Posted on No comments
By Vir B. Lumicao

Filipinos account for 55% of the total foreign domestic helper population in Hong Kong 

Hong Kong attracted 8,176 more domestic helpers from the Philippines for the whole of last year, lifting their total number to 219,073 by the end of last December.

This accounted for nearly 55% of Hong Kong's total foreign domestic helper population of 399,320 by the year’s end.

Immigration figure also show that the number of Indonesian domestic helpers, the second biggest ethnic group, also rose by about 5,000, to a total figure of 170,828.
The increase in arrivals of Filipino helpers was recorded despite a big number being dismissed by employers or breaking their contracts for various reasons, a welfare officer at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office has said.

Marivic C. Clarin said that she personally handled more than 2,000 contract terminations or non-renewals from June to December last year.
She said 700 or about a third of these cases were initiated by workers, 324 of whom broke their contracts while the rest did not renew contracts. Two-thirds were done by employers, of whom 45% cited severance as the reason, while 55% were performance-related.

In the severance cases, the reasons cited for the redundancy were: the employer died or relocated; there was no more need for the helper as her ward had grown up; and financial reasons like job loss.

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But technically, she said these should not be considered as terminations because the workers didn’t have to go back home to re-apply for jobs through agencies but were allowed to stay in Hong Kong to process new work contracts.

Foreign Domestic Helpers Population in Hong Kong

As at the end of Month/Year
Other nationalities
Total number for all nationalities
Dec 2018
Dec 2019

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HK now has 5 confirmed coronavirus cases as China death toll climbs to 42

Posted on 24 January 2020 No comments
By The SUN

HK's 2 confirmed coronavirus patients are in isolation in Princess Margaret Hospital 

UPDATED Jan 25: As Chinese people all over the world began celebrating the long Lunar New Year holiday, 16 more people have died in China from the dreaded novel coronavirus that started in Wuhan City, bringing the death toll to 42.

In Hong Kong, three new cases have been confirmed, bringing the known number of coronavirus patients to five. The first two confirmed cases were reported within hours of each other on Thursday. 

For the first time, two of the deaths in China occurred outside Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, sparking fears the disease is rapidly spreading.
Chinese state media reported that as of  Jan 25, the number of infected patients has risen to nearly 1,500 nationwide, nearly double the figure the previous day.

Worldwide, the total number of confirmed cases has also risen rapidly. For the first time, the contagion has spread to Europe, with France reporting 3 confirmed cases. It has also spread to South Asia, where a Nepali student in Wuhan has come down with the virus. A second case has also been reported each in the USA and Macau. Apart from Hong Kong, Thailand has 5; Singapore,,Malaysia, and Australasia, 4 each; Taiwan, 3; and South Korea, Japan and Vietnam with 2 each.

All confirmed cases had either flown out, or had traveled, to Wuhan.

Of the 42 who died in China, one was in Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, and one was in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang.

Only Tibet among China's  31 provinces and municipalities has not reported any coronavirus case, despite lockdowns and travel bans being enforced in Wuhan and 15 other cities.
Several Chinese provinces and key cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, have declared the highest level of public health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, and handed management of response measures to the State Council, China’s cabinet.

In Hong Kong, the known cases have risen to 5, with the last 3 patients being confirmed hours after  testing positive in preliminary tests.

Controller of the Centre for Health Prevention Wong Ka-hing also revealed that Japan’s second confirmed patient had transited in Hong Kong.

The first coronavirus patient in Hong Kong was a 39-year-old mainland tourist who arrived via high-speed train at West Kowloon station from Shenzhen on Tuesday, Jan. 21, and showed signs of a fever. He had earlier taken another train from Wuhan to Shenzhen.
The second was a 56-year-old Hongkonger who had visited Wuhan and arrived back in Hong Kong on Jan. 19. He voluntarily submitted for tests at Prince of Wales Hospital on Jan. 21 after experiencing low-grade fever.

Both are now in isolation rooms in Princess Margaret Hospital in Kowloon.

The last three cases involved two 62-year-old women and a 63-year-old man married to one of them. All three had been in Wuhan within the past two weeks. The couple has been admitted to Prince of Wales Hospital in Shatin, while the other woman is in Tuen Mun Hospital.

Also today, health authorities announced that as of 8am, a record 66 new cases of suspected coronavirus were reported over a 24-hour period, as a result of using broader criteria for people showing symptoms.

The new cases brought the total number to 236, with 119 patients needing hospitalization. Two with pre-existing medical conditions are in critical condition.

The Hospital Authority says it has prepared 309 isolation wards and 570 isolated hospital beds to cope with the increasing number of suspected cases, but even those may not be enough in the near term.

There is also the problem of providing accommodation to hospital staff who are worried about going home after treating the infected patients.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the four family members of Hong Kong’s first confirmed case have already been tracked by immigration authorities. 

The group flew on to Manila aboard Cebu Pacific 5J111 yesterday morning, after staying overnight at Empire Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. Their whereabouts in the Philippines has not been reported.

Philippine health authorities say the four were not stopped at the airport because they did not manifest symptoms. For the same reason, they were not tested for the virus.

 “They are not sick so there is no need to test or admit them. But we are still monitoring them,” Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said.

He also said the Philippines has remained free of the Wuhan contamination, despite initial tests showing a 5-year-old boy Chinese boy who was hospitalized in Cebu City was infected with an undetermined coronavirus.

Domingo said the DOH was still awaiting the results of the swab test on the boy which had been passed on to a laboratory in Melbourne, Australia for further analysis.
He urged everyone who had traveled to Wuhan since Dec 8 and are experiencing flu-like symptoms to go to public hospitals so they could be tested and treated if necessary.
In a separate interview, Health Secretary Francisco Duque II said the boy was not contagious, as he did not infect his mother who had flown in with him from Wuhan, or any of the passengers on their flight.

This led him to conclude the virus acquired by the boy could  not have been transmitted from human to human.

"The hypothesis that there is no human to human transmission is right," he said, but added the Wuhan coronavirus might be different.

Chinese media reports indicate several medical staff had been infected after treating patients with the disease.
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