Patients wait to see the doctor at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong on Feb 4, 2020. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG - Hong Kong recorded no new infections of the novel coronavirus on Friday, the first time since Feb 8.
However, the government said that face mask and protective gear stockpile for use in public hospitals is only sufficient to meet one-month demand.
The latest tally of coronavirus cases stood at 56, with patients aged between 22 and 91, according to Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Communicable Disease Branch of the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health.
A health official said public hospitals will further cut back on non-emergency medical services next week to minimize the risk of cross-infection in hospitals
Chuang said it is hard to say whether the epidemic has reached its climax as the incubation period could be as long as 14 days or even longer in asymptomatic patients. More time is needed for observation, she added.
Among the infected patients, 27 are aged over 60, she added.
Chuang said patients infected before coming to Hong Kong tended to develop symptoms sooner, leading to early detection. They also had fewer contacts. But patients who caught the disease through local transmission usually had contacts with one to two more people and it usually took them longer to show symptoms. In some cases, the confirmation of the infection came a week after they developed symptoms, she said.
The Authority’s Chief Manager (Cluster Performance) Ian Cheung said that public hospitals would further cut back on non-emergency services next week to minimize the risk of cross infection in hospitals.
The Hospital Authority has a stockpile of 18 million surgical masks, 2.2 million protective clothing, and 1.1 million N95 masks, which are sufficient for one-month use at public hospitals, according to Sara Ho, the Authority’s Chief Manager (Patient Safety and Risk Management).
The Macao government said it would gradually resume basic services starting next week after the special administrative region recorded no confirmed case for 11 consecutive days
Meanwhile, the Macao government announced on Saturday that it would gradually resume basic services starting next week after the special administrative region recorded no confirmed case for 11 consecutive days. The suspension of casinos, which is slated to end on Feb 19, will be subject to further review until then.
Also on Saturday, another 67 passengers on board the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess in Yokohama, Japan were confirmed to have been infected by the coronavirus. Among them, 38 showed no symptoms at all. It is not known whether any Hong Kong resident were among the latest group of patients. Earlier, the Hong Kong government said 11 Hong Kong passengers were confirmed to have been infected.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Friday that the SAR government, together with the nation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have been providing all necessary and feasible assistance to Hong Kong people stranded on board and arrangements will be made for their return to Hong Kong.
In a press release issued on Friday, the Commissioner’s Office of the Foreign Ministry in the SAR pledged to extend full assistance to all Hong Kong residents on board the ship.
HONG KONG NEWS