Appeal to avoid large gatherings

February 9, 2020

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


The Centre for Health Protection today urged the public to avoid large gatherings to prevent a community-wide outbreak of novel coronavirus infection.


The centre’s Communicable Disease Branch Head Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan made the appeal at a press conference after revealing that two of the three new confirmed cases had joined a hotpot and barbecue dinner with their family during the Lunar New Year holiday.


“Because we are in a situation where we would like to prevent a community-wide outbreak, so I would suggest we should avoid large dinner gatherings or lunch gatherings with friends or relatives. If it is necessary, for those who have symptoms such as fever or respiratory symptoms, they should avoid participating in these kinds of gatherings.”


She said the three new cases involve a 24-year-old man and his maternal grandmother who had attended the family gathering of 19 people in Kwun Tong. Seven other relatives who were at the dinner have also tested positive for the virus.


The third confirmed case is a 70-year-old man who had not travelled since January 9, but has underlying medical conditions.


Dr Chuang explained the difficulties of spotting people infected with the novel coronavirus.


“As you know from this family cluster, we know that many of them did not have obvious symptoms and some of them did not seek medical attention. Obviously some of them can still go to work or because of very mild symptoms they think they are okay. It is just like influenza. It is very difficult to pick up all those with mild symptoms and isolate them in the hospital and trace all those contacts, so the task is too big.”


She also pointed out that placing all patients under quarantine could at most delay the spread of the disease, but not completely stop it in its tracks.

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