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MERS contacts being traced

May 29, 2015

The Centre for Health Protection is tracing people who may have come into contact with a Korean man infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus.


The centre's Controller Dr Leung Ting-hung told a press briefing this evening that 158 passengers were on board Asiana Airlines flight OZ 723 on May 26. Among them, 80 were in the same cabin, including 29 who were sitting within two rows of the MERS patient.


Dr Leung said that among the 29 people who came into close contact with the man, 12 have been traced - three are Korean and nine are Chinese. They are being sent to a quarantine camp later today for a two week observation period. About 10 people have left Hong Kong.


The centre will start medical surveillance for others who were on the same flight and buses as the patient. He had travelled from Hong Kong International Airport to Huizhou in Guangdong on two buses operated by Eternal East Cross-Border Coach with number plates PJ 2595 and HN 5211.


The centre also discovered that three passengers from the PJ 2595 cross-border bus had transferred to a seven-seater vehicle in Sha Tau Kok. 


Secretary for Food & Health Dr Ko Wing-man urged passengers who were on the same flight or bus as the man to come forward for medical assessment.


"I am very concerned about the outbreak of MERS because the transmission (of the disease) has never been stopped since it occurred more than two years ago. Reports of sporadic cases and cluster of cases continue. Under this situation, Hong Kong has never stopped its vigilance as well as the risk management measures that we have applied.


"The most important thing for us now is to concentrate our efforts to search out the passengers on the same flight who have been identified as close contacts. In this regard, I would like to appeal to all passengers on the flight concerned to contact the Centre for Health Protection through its hotline."


Anyone who may have had contact with the MERS patient should call the hotline at 2125 1111, which will be open until 9pm today.


The centre has issued letters to doctors and hospitals to alert them to the latest situation and urges the public and healthcare sector to heighten vigilance against the disease.