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Warning of ‘invisible carriers’ as 4 new imported cases of Covid-19 reported

22 April 2020

By The SUN

Of HK's total tally of 1,034 Covid-19 patients, only 348 are still in hospital

Hong Kong health officials today (Apr 22) reported four new cases of Covid-19, all involving returning residents from Britain, bringing the total tally to 1034.

They include a two-year-old boy who was under home quarantine and was asymptomatic when his stool sample tested positive for the virus.

The boy and his mother arrived in Hong Kong on Apr 12 after visiting relatives in Britain since Feb 3. His mother tested negative, so both were sent home to start the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

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A subsequent test of the fecal sample from the toddler showed he was infected with the virus, so he was admitted to Prince of Wales Hospital in Shatin for treatment, while his parents were put under quarantine.

The three others, two females and one male, aged 26, 52 and 69, respectively, all flew into Hong Kong from London on Apr 21, and were found to have Covid-19 after submitting saliva samples to the AsiaWord-Expo testing site.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection again advised the public to continue practicing social distancing because of the possibility that there are undiagnosed “invisible carriers” who could spread the virus around.
She made the remark after detailing the case of a 24-year-old medical student who returned two different results for Covid-19 tests.

The student was reportedly found to have a fever on Apr 21 as he was about to take an examination, and was sent home. He went to a private hospital where his test result came out positive, so he was sent to Queen Mary Hospital for treatment.

At QMH, he was again tested, and this time, the result was inconclusive. But a laboratory test at CHP showed he was negative so he was taken off the “preliminary positive” list.
Chuang said there were two possible explanations for this: (1) the student tested “false positive” initially; and (2) he may have been infected previously and has recovered, and the initial test showed the viral residue in his system.

This, she said, could mean there “maybe invisible transmissions in our community, that’s why we think social distancing is very important.”
 
Chuang says keeping distance is important because there may be silent carriers around

The student’s friends with whom he had meals are reportedly being interviewed to find out if they had traveled recently, or whether they had been in contact with an infected person.

The student himself had no travel history, mostly stayed at home, and did not interact with anyone who had the disease.

The last locally transmitted case was reported on Apr 19. It involved a 47-year-old ground crew of Virgin Atlantic, who ushered arriving passengers to transport links to the immigration counters.

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She had no recent travel history, and had no known contact with an infected person.

Meanwhile, 28 more patients were discharged today from 14 various public hospitals after recovering from the disease. They brought to only 338 the number of infected patients under isolation at the hospitals. 

Of these, 8 are in critical condition, while those who are in serious condition went down from 6 to 4. The death toll stands at 4.


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