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Critically ill local woman could be one of 4 new Covid-19 cases

31 May 2020

By The SUN

The woman is in hospital in critical condition after testing positive for Covid-19

A 34-year-old woman with no recent travel history is reported to be in intensive care in Prince of Wales Hospital in Shatin tonight, after initially testing positive for the coronavirus disease.

The woman, said to be on a ventilator, needs to test positive twice before being confirmed as having Covid-19.

If she is found infected, she would bring Hong Kong’s total tally to 1,083 after three new imported cases were reported earlier Saturday. It would also end the city’s 16-day run of no local transmission.
The three confirmed cases, including a one-year-old boy, all traveled aboard a Qatar Airways flight QR 818 on Thursday from Pakistan, with a stopover in Doha.

A fifth, or 16, of the 83 passengers on the flight have already been infected. But local health officials say they don’t believe the infected people caught the virus on the plane, but in Pakistan.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch, said: “We believe they were infected in [Pakistan], because they had been tested immediately upon arrival. Normally, if they were infected on the flight, that incubation period [for a positive result] would be way too short,” she said.
But she added, “It is by far the only flight with so many infected cases to my knowledge.”

Four flight attendants have been sent to a quarantine centre after they were identified as close contacts of the infected passengers, while eight others tested negative.

A total of 1,100 residents have recently returned from the South Asian country, and 36 have tested positive. Pakistan has a high infection rate per capita, but has yet to conduct a mass testing among its population.

Chuang says the 16 infected passengers were already sick when they boarded the QR flight

Chuang said the new patients included a 38-year-old man and his eight-year-old son whose initial test results were uncertain, but were subsequently found to be infected.

Health officials took some time getting a saliva sample from the one-year-old baby, but tests from his throat swab later showed he also had the disease. His 24-year-old mother tested positive on Friday.

The last local infection in the city was recorded on May 14, when a 62-year-old man who lives in Tsuen Wan tested positive for the virus. A day earlier, his 66-year-old wife and five-year-old granddaughter were also found infected.

After testing more than 1,000 people living in their housing blocks, no more positive results were recorded. The source of their infection remains unknown.

Meanwhile, transit passengers would be allowed into Hong Kong International Airport from Monday, after a ban of more than two months.

Chuang urged all passengers to maintain personal hygiene and wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

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