First use of artificial lung in HK's Covid-19 fight
Hong Kong's health officials on Friday reported 16 new coronavirus cases, bringing the tally to 989. The figure is slightly higher than the 13 reported on Thursday, but officials again said the epidemic should not be considered to be trending down, saying some mild cases in the community may not have been picked up.
The centre for health protection's Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan said all but one of the new cases have recent travel history. They are aged between 17 to 75.
And the one man could be a second generation infection case. The 28-year-old patient's girlfriend had recently been to the pub, All Night Long, in Tsim Sha Tsui, which was a cluster of Covid-19 patients. Test results on her and a few of the man's friends are pending.
An elderly woman who's been in intensive care has also been connected to an artificial lung, becoming the first patient in Hong Kong requiring such treatment. She's 75-year-old and had returned from a trip to North America late last month.
Chuang said even though all the reported cases on Friday could be traced, people should not let their guard down.
"It is still possible that there are some mild cases [in the community] that are not being picked up," she told a daily briefing on the Covid-19 situation.
"I also observe that there are many people in the streets, perhaps because of the Easter holidays. So I urge the general public to maintain social distancing, stay at home as far as possible, and avoid unnecessary gatherings and visits outside. Think before you act," Chuang said.
She also explained that officials have already balanced the risks involved when deciding to relax quarantine rules for close contacts of confirmed patients.
The authorities announced on Thursday night that starting on Saturday, people in quarantine centres only need to stay for 10 days instead of 14.
They'll then complete the procedure by staying at home for four more days under medical surveillance by wearing a bracelet.
Dr Chuang said this arrangement was discussed and accepted by a scientific committee, given the quarantine centres here are getting full -- they have about twenty to thirty percent of capacity left.
She said people at the centres have to test negative for coronavirus before they're sent home, provided their health conditions, home situation and other factors are all suitable for them to go through home quarantine.