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Update on local response to latest MERS situation

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (May 30) reported the latest local response to the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) exported from Korea to Mainland China.

     The CHP's epidemiological investigations are ongoing. As of 5.30pm today, contact tracing located 29 close contacts and 17 other contacts of the patient.

(A) Close contacts

     Among the 29 passengers within two rows of the patient onboard OZ 723 of Asiana Airlines who travelled from Korea and arrived in Hong Kong at around 1pm on May 26 classified as close contacts, 18 are in Hong Kong.

     "All 18 close contacts have been quarantined at the quarantine centre (QC) in Lady MacLehose Holiday Village and they have remained asymptomatic," a spokesman for the CHP remarked.

     "In response to information of the health authority of Macau, upon verification by the CHP, the close contact who visited Macau after arriving in Hong Kong has been quarantined among the 18 above," the spokesman added.

(B) Other contacts

     The 17 other contacts have been put under medical surveillance. Apart from the eleven reported yesterday, the additional six include:

* Three other passengers onboard OZ 723, including one with mild symptoms before exposure to the patient and two being asymptomatic. Health advice has been given; and
* Three asymptomatic members of staff of the Aviation Security Company Limited at Hong Kong International Airport.

     Contact tracing is ongoing.

     "We again strongly appeal to passengers onboard OZ 723 of Asiana Airlines who travelled from Korea and arrived in Hong Kong at around 1pm on May 26, and those onboard the three vehicles operated by Eternal East Cross-Border Coach Mgt. Ltd. on the same day to call our hotline on 2125 1111 for further assessment or follow-up. It will operate till 6pm today and from 9am to 6pm tomorrow (May 31)," the spokesman said.

     "We will maintain close communication with the World Health Organization and the health authorities of Korea and the Mainland. Members of the public and the healthcare sector should heighten vigilance and stay alert to the latest situation," the spokesman said.

Ends/Saturday, May 30, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:17


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