A spokesman for the Department of Health (DH) today (March 10) provided an update on the suspected case of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus.
Preliminary laboratory test results for the respiratory specimens of the 31-year-old man and his wife today showed negative for Novel Coronavirus associated with Severe Respiratory Disease.
The male patient's specimen is positive for seasonal influenza A (H3).
The 31-year-old man, with good past health, travelled to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) from March 4 to 7. He presented with cough since March 3 and fever and headache since March 9. He was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) for isolation and treatment last night. His current condition is stable. His wife with no recent travel history has cough and sore throat since March 8. She is also being isolated in QEH as a precautionary measure.
"The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the DH will continue its surveillance mechanism with public and private hospitals, practising doctors and the airport for any suspected cases of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus," a DH spokesman remarked.
"No human infection with this virus has been identified so far in Hong Kong," the spokesman stressed.
"We would like to reassure the public that the Government will be as transparent as possible in the dissemination of information on cases of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus. Whenever there is a suspected case, particularly involving patients with travel history to the Middle East and the affected areas, the CHP will release information to the public as soon as possible." the spokesman added.
And that policy of transparency is what makes Hong Kong so much better than most health jurisdictions, especially those in Asia: They tell the world what's going on and what they are doing about it.
I don't know if this goes back to Margaret Chan fighting the first H5N1 outbreak back in 1997, or if Hong Kong has always been this good. But it's a policy all health departments should adopt and carry out.