Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing- man has denied it is a waste of resources to open a quarantine center for only three people.
Members of the family, who employ a 36-year-old Indonesian helper critically ill with the H7N9 bird flu strain, opted to be quarantined at Lady MacLehose Holiday Village in Sai Kung.
Fourteen others who were in close contact with the helper, including a 33-year-old friend who accompanied her to Shenzhen to buy live chicken, chose to stay at Princess Margaret or Tuen Mun hospitals.
"It was not a waste of resources because this arrangement was necessary," Ko said. "While the three people had no infection symptoms and need not stay at the hospital, the Centre for Health Protection can decide on an individual situation where to be isolated."
He said places such as one's home or hospital are acceptable for isolation.
The woman was confirmed with H7N9 only on Monday when she was moved to Queen Mary Hospital, despite being admitted at first to Tuen Mun Hospital on November 27. She first fell ill on November 21.
Hospital Authority chief infection control officer Dominic Tsang Ngai- chong said Tuen Mun Hospital doctors did a test on the woman last Thursday but did not conduct a more effective probe for bird flu. Tsang said the authority has learned its lesson on the issue.