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French pilot tests positive for Covid-19 after being cleared a month ago

15 May 2020

By The SUN

The pilot was tested at Princess Margaret Hospital where he sought treatment for a finger injury

Hong Kong health officials have played down fears a French pilot found infected with Covid-19 today, May 15, might have spread the virus in Princess Margaret hospital in Kwai Chung where he was treated in a ward for a broken finger.

The 43-year-old private jet pilot reportedly stayed in the hospital ward for only about 30 minutes and was wearing a mask the whole time. He was immediately put in isolation at the same hospital after a routine test showed he had the virus.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said the man’s viral load was low and “not very active” so it was not likely that he infected others.
Chuang also said it was likely the man got infected during one of his travels abroad so his case is being treated as an imported one.

However, the pilot, who raised Hong Kong’s total tally to 1,052, tested negative in an earlier test done on him in mid-April, a few days after flying back to Hong Kong from trips in the United States and France.

As a pilot, he was among those exempted from the mandatory home quarantine for newly arrived residents, but despite this, he reportedly isolated himself for three weeks.

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Chuang says the pilot might have caught the virus before mid-March, when he returned briefly to Hong Kong from London. During this time, he met up with his girlfriend, who later on tested positive for Covid-16.
 
Chuang (left) thinks the pilot had the virus as early as 2 months ago although he tested negative in mid-April

Between Mar 16 and 17, while in France, the pilot reported having a slight fever but did not seek treatment, and recovered on his own.

He returned to Hong Kong on Mar 31, and immediately went into self-quarantine. His test result showed he did not have the virus.
On May 9, he met up with his girlfriend and then went to a private doctor to get himself tested, and the result was again negative.

But after injuring his finger during a sporting activity, he was sent to Princess Margaret’s orthopaedic ward today, where the routine test showed he had the virus.

Meanwhile, health officials say the source of infection of the three members of a family in Tsuen Wan who were found infected earlier this week remains unknown.
Two of the patients are an elderly couple, aged 66 and 63, and the third is their five-year-old granddaughter who lives in another building.

Chuang had said it was possible the grandfather who repaired watches on a fixed stall along Tsuen Wan Market Road had infected his wife and granddaughter. Although asymptomatic, the man’s viral load is said to be high.

Swab tests have begun on about 1,000 people residing in 850 households in the two housing estates where the patients live, and on some shopkeepers in the market the grandmother frequented.

Results of the tests have yet to come out.


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