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3 new imported cases reported as health officials say Covid may be here to stay

18 May 2020

By The SUN

The 3 new cases were under quarantine in Chun Yeung Estate in Fo Tan (RTHK photo) 

Hong Kong health officials say the coronavirus may never go away, as they reported three new imported cases today, May 17.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection said in today’s press conference that the three new cases were all new arrivals from Pakistan. They included a 79-year-old man, a 39-year-old woman and her 10-year-old daughter.

Chuang said the man went to visit his relatives in Pakistan six months ago. He was asymptomatic and could not recall being in close contact with infected patients.

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He arrived on Saturday via a Qatar Airways QR 818 flight from Pakistan via Doha.

The mother and daughter, today’s second and third cases, went to Pakistan with family members on Mar 6 and were on the same Qatar Air flight as the male patient. The mother had a mild cough and headache but her girl did not have symptoms.

All three patients were transferred to a hospital from the quarantine centre in Chun Yeung estate.  
The CHP said today’s count excluded a 29-year-old male Hong Kong resident who tested positive in Britain on May 14. After his condition improved, he flew to Hong Kong on Friday via Cathay Pacific flight CX252.

He tested positive on arrival and was sent to Prince of Wales Hospital.

The new cases brought the total number of infections in Hong Kong to 1,055, with four related deaths.
Chuang said the first batch of 1,000 tests on residents of Lei Muk Shue Estate in Tsuen Wan, where an elderly couple who tested positive last week lives, and a tutorial center their granddaughter attended, all came back negative.

The three, who all live in Tsuen Wan, were the first locally acquired cases reported in more than three weeks.

Earlier on Sunday, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan warned that Hong Kong people have to get used to the “new normal” of having the coronavirus in their midst indefinitely.
Chan was echoing the remarks of Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization health emergencies program, who said “the virus may never go”.

“As experts suggested that the virus may not be eliminated completely and could become endemic, Hong Kong has to rethink how to embrace the ‘new normal’,” Chan said in a radio program.

Hong Kong would scale up its daily testing capacity of 4,000 to 5,000 as a key strategy to better detect cases in the community, Chan said.

Health officials have said earlier that the initial targets are staff at the airport and will also include patients in psychiatric wards.


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