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3rd new local case asymptomatic, could be carrier

14 May 2020

By Daisy CL Mandap

The man runs a watch repair shop on Tsuen Wan Market Road, and could have been infected there (Flickr photo)

Hong Kong health officials have confirmed that the husband of the city’s first new local case in 23 days has also tested positive for Covid-19.

At their press conference today, May 14, the officials also said the 63-year-old man, who did not have symptoms, could have infected his 66-year-old wife and their 5-year-old granddaughter who both tested positive earlier.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said that although asymptomatic, the man’s viral load was high, meaning he was highly infectious. (As of today, 203 infected patients in Hong Kong were listed as asymptomatic).

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She also said there are many Covid-19 patients who show mild symptoms, so it is important that everyone who feels unwell should seek medical attention immediately.

“Some may think that it’s not serious so they don’t see a doctor…unfortunately if they contracted Covid-19 that could lead to something serious. If they don’t see a doctor immediately they could form a transmission chain in the community.”

The man, who had a watch repair shop at no 10 Tsuen Wan Road Market, was isolated and tested after his wife and granddaughter who both got sick, had earlier been found infected.

Chuang said, “we cannot rule out the possibility that he was the first case.”
Chuang says it's possible the man caught the virus first but did not know it because he had no symptoms 
This was because the man, identified as case no 1052, had more interactions with other people. He usually traveled by car from their flat in Lei Muk Shue estate in the same district, and brought his own lunch from home. However, even at the height of the contagion, he continued to run his shop.
His wife, on the other hand, mostly went to market and then to their son’s house nearby, to look after their granddaughter.

Chuang said health officials will look for the man’s customers as part of contact-tracing, but the task may be difficult because he kept no records of his transactions.

Health authorities have also begun testing more than 1,000 people in 850 households in Tower 5 of Lei Muk Shue Estate where the couple lives, and Cheuk Ming Mansion on Tsuen Wan Road Market, where the girl lives with her parents.

Apart from the three, five other members of the two households remain isolated after reporting symptoms.
After her grandmother fell ill, the girl visited her maternal grandmother in Charming Garden in Tai Kok Tsui and had meal with other relatives. All those who shared the meal are also being tested.

Market stall vendors are also being screened for any close interaction with the grandmother, who however, said she always wore a mask whenever she did her shopping. Containers for saliva samples were reportedly left with them so they could be tested.
Also being checked is the tutorial school where the girl and her grandmother went during the incubation period, as well as the Modern China restaurant in Olympian City mall where the girl had a meal with her mother.

Of the 1052 confirmed patients, only 39 remain in 11 hospitals, with one in critical condition. The death toll remains at 4.

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