Monday, April 21, 2014   

Battle stations as Mexican brings swine flu to HK
(05-02 04:17)

Hong Kong has confirmed it was stuck with Asia's first swine flu case in a Mexican traveler and swung into emergency mode at once by taking ''draconian'' measures to contain the spread of the disease.

The first step was quarantining the 25 year old, his two traveling companions and a ''local friend'' at the Princess Margaret Hospital.

Police cordoned off the Metropark Hotel, pictured, in Wan Chai where the three travelers had stayed before the infection forced him to seek help at Ruttonjee Hospital.

Officials ordered a week-long quarantine of all at the hotel, affecting around 200 guests and 100 staff, and dispatched staff to sanitize it, particularly room 1103 and the 11th floor where the trio had stayed.

Authorities also raced to track down anyone who may have crossed paths with the sick Mexican to minimize chances of a community outbreak.

In a somber and hastily convened press conference, Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok appealed to passengers who were on the same Shanghai-to-Hong Kong plane – China Eastern Airlines' MU505 – as the three travelers to get in touch with health officials on an emergency hotline at 2125-1111.

Passengers who were seated in rows 20 to 26 are considered to be particularly at risk because the patient was in 23A.

The same appeal was also made for the two taxi drivers who ferried the trio from the airport to the Metropark and from the hotel to Ruttonjee.

STAFF REPORTER
   
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