Diabetic man becomes HK's second fatality

Top News | Jane Cheung 20 Feb 2020

Jane Cheung

A 70-year-old man has become Hong Kong's second fatality from the coronavirus as the number of confirmed cases in the SAR reached 63.

The mother-in-law of an infected engineer living in Taikoo Shing and a couple were three new cases.

Lau Ka-hin, the Hospital Authority's chief manager for quality and standards, said the latest person to succumb to the pneumonia-causing Covid-19 virus had been in poor then critical condition since he was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital last Wednesday and "sent straight to the intensive care unit."

He was taken to hospital after falling at Shek Yi House in Kwai Chung public estate, where he lived alone.

The man, who had suffered with diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney problems, died at 7.22am yesterday.

He had told medics he been suffering from shortness of breath, a cough and fatigue since February 2. He also had a fever when admitted.

But he hid the fact he made a day trip to Shenzhen through the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint on January 22. Officers from the Immigration Department found that in his travel record, resulting in the isolation of five medical staff who treated him.

Lau said the man's case will go to the Coroner's Court to confirm the cause of death, which followed a 39-year-old diabetic man living in Whampoa Garden dying on February 4, also at Prince Margaret Hospital.

"Chronic disease including diabetes greatly affects pneumonia patients," Lau said.

Chuang Shuk-kwan, the head of the Centre for Health Protection's communicable disease branch, said one of yesterday's new cases was an 83-year-old woman, the mother of the wife of the Taikoo Shing engineer.

She lives in Block 1 of Seaview Garden in Tuen Mun and was sent to Tuen Mun Hospital on Saturday after falling at home and sustaining a hip fracture.

She underwent surgery to her hip on Sunday, the same day her son-in-law become the 57th confirmed case while her daughter became the 60th on Monday.

Doctors learned of her daughter and son-in-law being confirmed as Covid-19 cases when updating the family, including her husband, on the elderly woman's condition on Monday.

That prompted them to move her to an isolation unit immediately and to run tests.

The woman did not have a fever and had been in the orthopedics ward for three days before going to isolation.

And six patients in the same ward section had been isolated, though no one had shown symptoms.

Tests for the virus were also conducted on 15 medics who had contact with the woman, and nine were negative. Results for the other six were pending.

The woman's husband had been sent to Tuen Mun Hospital for a coronavirus test.

And Chuang said she believed the husband could be the source of the family cases as he had gone on a six-day trip to Dongguan city in January and then suffered from a cough and discomfort during the Lunar New Year holiday.

"He and his wife dined with their daughter and son-in-law on January 27," she added.

Then the engineer met with his father-in-law again two days later, though he appeared to have recovered from his cough and had seen private doctors in late January.

Chuang said there were two preliminary positive cases - a 68-year-old man and a his 70-year-old wife - living in Sui Moon House in a Siu Sai Wan housing estate.

The pair did not have any travel history but had coughs last week.

They usually stayed at home, though the husband exercised at parks during mornings while the wife had gone to Buddhist temples.

Yesterday also saw a 63-year-old man - the fifth confirmed virus case - discharged from hospital after recovering fully. He was the fifth to be discharged.

Of 55 virus patients in 10 hospitals, four were in critical condition, two were serious and 49 stable.


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