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Additional overseas case of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus closely monitored by DH

     The Department of Health (DH) is today (May 9) closely monitoring an additional case of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by France.

     According to the WHO, the case involved a patient with an underlying medical condition who became ill on April 23 and later developed respiratory symptoms after returning from a trip to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. The patient is currently hospitalised under intensive care and isolation. The case was laboratory confirmed on May 7. Investigation by the health authority of France is ongoing.

     This is the first confirmed case of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus in France.

     This brings the latest global number of confirmed cases of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus to 31, including 18 deaths.

     Meanwhile, the WHO also provided the latest information on the 13 confirmed cases recently reported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including seven fatal cases, four in critical condition under intensive care, and two currently hospitalised but clinically improved. All patients were reported to have at least one co-morbid medical condition. Most of the cases were patients at a single health-care facility and two were family members of two patients from that facility. No health-care workers have been affected. While investigations into the source of the outbreak are still ongoing, early information revealed that only a minority of these cases had contact with animals in the time leading up to their illness.

     "The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the DH will seek more information on the cases from the WHO and the relevant health authorities. The CHP will stay vigilant and continue to work closely with the WHO and overseas health authorities to monitor the latest developments 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 case 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 affected areas, the CHP will release information to the public as soon as possible," the spokesman added.

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

     The spokesman reminded 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 Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus ( or personal hygiene (

Ends/Thursday, May 9, 2013
Issued at HKT 11:07


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