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MERS observation may restart

July 03, 2015

The Government cannot yet withdraw its travel alert on South Korea as it may have to restart the observation period for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in the country after two new cases were confirmed there yesterday and today.


Secretary for Food & Health Dr Ko Wing-man said the Centre for Health Protection is waiting for Korean authorities to clarify whether they are older cases that were reported late.


The observation period is 28 days. The confirmations come after a four-day period of no new infections being reported.


He said the number of local suspected MERS cases have been dropping since the travel alert was issued.


The centre was notified of three suspected local MERS cases from noon yesterday to noon today, and they have tested negative for the MERS virus in preliminary testing.


No MERS cases have been confirmed in Hong Kong so far.


On the progress of an application to hold an event in which coloured powder will be used, Dr Ko said several departments are still considering the matter.


The Food & Environmental Hygiene Department will not consider issuing a licence until the departments have given their professional advice and the safety of the event is assured, he added.