Human transmission of virus possible

January 15, 2020

(To watch the video with sign language interpretation, click here.)


While there is no definitive evidence that the novel coronavirus in Wuhan is spread between humans, limited human-to-human transmission of the virus cannot be ruled out, Under Secretary for Food & Health Dr Chui Tak-yi said today.


Dr Chui made the statement after briefing Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan and medical experts of Hong Kong University and Chinese University about his visit to Wuhan to examine the situation concerning the cluster of pneumonia cases.


“According to the latest information and conclusion from Mainland authorities, including our conversation during the visit in the last two days, what they conclude at this stage is they could not find any definitive evidence of human-to-human transmission, although they cannot exclude the possibility of limited human-to-human transmission.”


Dr Tsui added that based on his observation and that of representatives from the Department of Health and Hospital Authority in Wuhan, local medical experts are of the view that prevention and control measures currently adopted in Hong Kong should continue.


Among the 41 patients diagnosed with having the virus on the Mainland, Centre for Health Protection Communicable Disease Branch Head Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan said most had been to a seafood wholesale market in Wuhan.


Dr Chuang explained that two of the patients include a married couple and while the wife had no exposure to the market, she may have contracted the virus from her husband who worked there and was first to fall ill.


She also noted that Mainland health authorities are now conducting an environmental investigation in the city’s markets where some of the environmental samples tested positive for the virus.


“It is clustered in the place where the seafood was sold. The cases were also clustered around that place.


“So, they are chasing it, where the source is. But the investigation is still ongoing so there is no conclusion yet.”

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