Domestic helper's case explained

February 18, 2020

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


The Centre for Health Protection today responded to questions concerning the first domestic helper who tested positive for novel coronavirus and why it took two tests to determine the infection.


The centre's Communicable Disease Branch Head Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan described details behind the 32-year-old patient's case, raising the number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong to 61.


“Concerning the foreign maid, the first test was negative. It may be related to the viral load, because when the first specimen was taken it was quite some time after the patient’s onset. But it also may be due to the specimen-taking.


“Sometimes the specimen may not pick up - when you take the specimen it may not pick up the right amount of virus - and also related to the test. So it is known that sometimes (coronavirus) can test negative because of various factors.


“That’s why the clinician is very alert and we will re-test if the patient’s condition deteriorates or there is something that the clinician cannot explain.”


Dr Chuang added that before the domestic helper tested positive, she met 10 of her friends at the City Hall’s outdoor area.


Even though they did not have a meal together and everyone was wearing masks, Dr Chuang stressed that the centre is trying to contact all her friends to have them tested.


The centre will update reported novel coronavirus cases on its dedicated webpage.

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