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Family of HK’s first coronavirus patient flew to Manila, health minister says

22 January 2020

By The SUN

Man in HK's first confirmed case of coronavirus is wheeled into hospital (SCMP photo)

Hong Kong health authorities have sounded out the alarm on the family of the city's first confirmed coronavirus case who they say have flown out to Manila this morning, Jan. 22, before the infected man was detected as having the highly contagious disease.

Health Minister Sophia Chan said four members of the 39-year-old Chinese man flew out of Hong Kong aboard Cebu Pacific flight 5J111 which landed in Manila at 1:20pm today, Wednesday.

In Manila, a spokesperson for Cebu Pacific has been reported as saying no one on the flight was quarantined. Department of Health authorities have also reportedly said the Bureau of Quarantine at Manila airport “did not encounter” the four family members.
Hong Kong authorities, however, are reportedly tracking down the family members in the Philippines, in an effort to contain the possible spread of the virus.

Within hours after the first confirmed case in Hong Kong was reported, another man who had traveled to Wuhan was reported as also having tested positive for the coronavirus. 

The 56-year-old man was initially taken to Prince of Wales Hospital but was later transferred to Prince Margaret Hospital, where the Infectious Disease Centre of the Hospital Authority is located.
The first confirmed case is also in an isolation ward at Princess Margaret Hospital.

The man reportedly boarded a train in Wuhan and traveled to Shenzhen, where he took another train to the West Kowloon rail terminus. He was detected as having fever at the border and was taken to hospital.

His family members who did not show symptoms managed to enter Hong Kong and spent the night at the Empire Hotel Kowloon in Tsim Sha Tsui before taking the Cebu Pacific flight this morning.

They landed in Manila before Hong Kong reported that preliminary tests had shown that their relative had the dreaded coronavirus.
Also reporting its first confirmed case of the coronavirus today was Macau. The patient was identified as a 52-year-old businesswoman who had traveled by high-speed train from Wuhan to Zhuhai before entering Macau. She was quarantined after visiting a local hospital, complaining of a cough.

Yesterday, a 5-year-old boy who had traveled to Wuhan was also reported as the first suspected case of the coronavirus in the Philippines. The boy, who is in a hospital in Cebu City, tested negative for Sars and Mers, but positive for an undetermined type of  coronavirus.

Samples taken from the boy have been sent on to Australia for further tests.

There are about 500 confirmed cases of the virus that was first seen among people who had visited a wet market in Wuhan, a city in Central China. It is now confirmed to have been transmitted from human to human. A further eight people were confirmed to have died from the coronavirus today, bringing the total death toll to 17.

The coronavirus is so named because of the crown-like spikes on its surface that cause respiratory ailments ranging from a simple flu to the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that killed 737 people worldwide, 299 of them in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has maintained temperature screening machines at the airport and border rail stations since the outbreak of SARS 17 years ago.
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