Cashier, cabbie among new infections

Top News | Jane Cheung 21 Feb 2020

Jane Cheung

A 38-year-old female cashier at a Yau Tong fast-food shop and a 58-year-old taxi driver who fainted after having a fever for two weeks became the latest confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus.

This came as a 75-year-old man - the father-in-law of the Taikoo Shing engineer earlier confirmed with Covid-19 - was also confirmed to be infected.

The three take the total number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong to 68.

At the same time, a police officer living in staff quarters in Yau Tong Yau Mei Court has been tested preliminary positive under the Hospital Authority's enhanced laboratory surveillance scheme.

He had attended the Kwun Tong outpatient clinic due to fever on Wednesday.

The head of communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, Chuang Shuk-kwan, said the 38-year-old woman, who lives with her husband and son at Hiu Fai House in a Sau Mau Ping home-ownership estate, developed a fever and cough on February 10 and consulted private doctors twice.

She was admitted to United Christian Hospital in Kwun Tong on Wednesday and confirmed with the virus yesterday.

She works as a cashier at Cafe de Coral's Super Super Congee & Noodles branch in Domain Mall in Yau Tong, but has not gone to work since she fell sick. She had also been wearing mask at work.

Chuang said the woman had no travel history during the incubation period and has not been in contact with any confirmed cases, prompting authorities to list her as a local case with an unclear source.

The taxi driver is in stable condition at North District Hospital after he fainted, Chuang said.

She said many previously confirmed cases had taken taxis to hospitals, but the man said he could not recall driving any passengers who may have had the coronavirus.

The third case - the senior - is the husband of the 83-year-old woman confirmed the other day.

He is also the father of a 46-year-old and the father-in-law of a 54-year-old man who were earlier diagnosed with the coronavirus.

"Previous tests showed the man to be negative of the coronavirus but a computer scan showed signs of pneumonia. He has also shown symptoms and is still coughing," Chuang said.

She believed the man was the source of the Taikoo Shing family cluster, as he frequently traveled to Zhangmutou in Dongguan in mid-January.

Separately Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung was criticized for his remark at the Legislative Council when he said the outbreak has been brought "under control."

Infectious disease expert Ho Pak-leung from the University of Hong Kong said it was a "completely wrong statement." He added: "It can only be considered 'under control' if there is no new case for one incubation period of 14 days."

Cheung said in a statement: "Guided by the three key principles of responding promptly, staying alert to the situation and working in an open and transparent manner, we have responded comprehensively with decisive and appropriate measures in accordance with the advice and opinions of our experts."

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