No Hong Kong case contracts the unidentified pneumonia so far

By Leng Shumei Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/7 22:53:41

No HK case contracts Novel coronavirus-related pneumonia so far

Photo: Xinhua

The Hong Kong government has stepped up precautions against an unidentified pneumonia found in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, which has hospitalized 59 people in the mainland city. 

At least nine more cases of fever, respiratory tract infection or pneumonia symptoms were reported in Hong Kong on Tuesday, according to local media. On the same day, the city announced the disease as a notifiable infectious disease.

But no patient in Hong Kong so far has been found to contract the viral pneumonia of unknown cause originating in Wuhan that has hospitalized 59 in Wuhan, an official from the Hong Kong Hospital Authority said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.  

Rumors have spread on Hong Kong social media saying the unidentified pneumonia has hit the city. 

At a press conference Tuesday morning, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said "the spread of fake news hinders anti-epidemic work."

She urged residents to distinguish between genuine and fake information concerning public health on social media.

The city has been nervous about the incident since it was revealed on December 31. 

Mu Hua, a student from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the campus had sterilized the dormitories and provided masks to students.

"Many students on the campus are wearing masks," Mu said.

The disease, bursting out at a seafood market in Wuhan, has left seven out of 59 patients in critical condition. 

Eight suspicious cases have also been reported in Macao and one in Singapore. But all have proved to be unrelated to the unidentified pneumonia, according to local media platforms.

These Chinese communities suffered during the outbreak of the SARS epidemic in 2003, so it is understandable they are nervous this time, Zeng Guang, a medical expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

"But it is actually unnecessary to be nervous," Zeng said, noting that he believed the Wuhan authority had dealt with the disease in a proper and timely fashion. 

After the deadly SARS epidemic, the Chinese mainland gained rich experience and established a complete mechanism to deal with serious and urgent public health incidents and so there was no need to worry, Zeng noted. 

As no casualty or human-to-human infection has been reported in Wuhan so far, Zeng said it was reasonable to believe that the disease was not that fatal and infectious, and most likely could be contained in Wuhan. 

Li Gang, chief of Wuhan disease control and prevention center, told a press conference Monday that they had strictly isolated infected patients and kept close attention on people who had come into contact with them. 

As the cause of the disease is still unknown, strict measures and a responsible attitude are necessary, Li noted.

Zeng said it would take some time to identify the virus. "It's not an easy thing."  

It took about two months to identify SARS. 

People in Wuhan, the source of the disease, reached by the Global Times said they felt little impact from the incident. 

"I barely see people wearing masks. We were only nervous for one day when the disease was revealed, but relaxed soon after the government took action," said a Wuhan University student surnamed Yang. 

Newspaper headline: No HK case contracts Novel coronavirus-related pneumonia so far


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