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DH closely monitors additional overseas case of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus

     The Department of Health (DH) is today (March 24) closely monitoring an additional case of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The latest case is a contact of the 15th case announced by WHO on March 12.

     According to WHO's initial information, the patient suffered a mild illness, and has recovered and been discharged from hospital. Currently, there is insufficient information available to allow a conclusive assessment of the mode and source of transmission.

     This latest case brings the global total number of confirmed cases of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus to 16 (including nine deaths), of which nine are from the KSA (including six deaths).

     "In view of the latest development, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the DH will seek more information on this case from the WHO and relevant health authorities. The CHP will stay vigilant and continue to work closely with the WHO and other overseas health authorities to monitor the latest development of this novel infectious disease," a DH spokesman said.

     Locally, the CHP will continue its surveillance mechanism with public and private hospitals, practising doctors and the airport for any suspected cases of severe respiratory disease associated with novel coronavirus.

     "No human infection with this virus has so far been identified in Hong Kong," the spokesman stressed.

     "We would like to reassure the public that the Government will be as transparent as possible in the dissemination of information on cases of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus. Whenever there is a suspected case, particularly involving patients with travel history to the Middle East and the affected areas, the CHP will release information to the public as soon as possible," the spokesman added.

     Travellers returning from novel coronavirus-affected countries with respiratory symptoms are advised to wear face masks, seek medical attention and reveal their travel history to doctors.

     The spokesman reminded members of the public to take heed of personal hygiene, especially washing hands:

* Wash hands before touching the eyes, nose and mouth;
* Wash hands before eating or handling food;
* Wash hands after using a toilet;
* Wash hands after sneezing or coughing and cleaning the nose; and
* Avoid direct contact with animals, birds or poultry.

     The public may visit the CHP's website ( for more information on personal hygiene.

Ends/Sunday, March 24, 2013
Issued at HKT 11:11


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