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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 19) closely monitoring an additional case of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

     According to the WHO, the patient is an 81-year-old woman with multiple coexisting medical conditions. She became ill on April 28.

     The patient was identified as part of the ongoing investigation into an outbreak that began in a health-care facility since the beginning of April. She was in the same health-care facility previously identified as the focus of this outbreak, from April 8 to 28. To date, a total of 22 patients including nine deaths, have been reported from this outbreak in the Eastern KSA. The KSA government is conducting ongoing investigation into the outbreak.

     This brings the latest global number of confirmed cases of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus to 41, including 20 deaths.

     "The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the DH will seek more information on the case from the WHO and the relevant health authority. 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 been identified so far 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 said.

     Health-care providers are advised to be vigilant among recent travellers returning from novel coronavirus-affected areas who develop severe acute respiratory infections and are reminded to adhere to strict infection control measures while handling suspected cases. Patients' lower respiratory tract specimens should also be obtained for diagnosis when possible. Doctors are reminded that novel coronavirus infection should be considered even with atypical signs and symptoms in patients who are significantly immunocompromised.

     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 members of the public to take heed of personal hygiene:

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

     Members of the public may visit the CHP's website for more information on Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus ( or personal hygiene (

Ends/Sunday, May 19, 2013
Issued at HKT 13:11


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