CHP on identifying virus difficulties

February 19, 2020

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


The Centre for Health Protection today described the difficulties with identifying novel coronavirus patients exhibiting mild symptoms.


The centre’s Communicable Disease Branch Head Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan used Hong Kong's latest coronavirus case as an example of how several patients initially display only mild symptoms or are asymptomatic.


“Case number 63 was not completely asymptomatic. After questioning, she had a runny nose and mild symptoms starting around February 14. I agree that it’s very difficult to trace and even identify such type of patients who are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.


“If they have a known case contact, then it is still possible, sometimes, to identify them even if they have a previous history, such as the patient’s father and then case 63’s husband. He is now well, but for precautionary sake we put him in Tuen Mun Hospital for checking. But even at that, we may not pick up whether he really has symptoms or if he’s a confirmed case or not.”


And with that revelation, Dr Chuang stressed that the Hospital Authority is being more proactive.


“So we agree that it is very difficult to identify those with mild symptoms or asymptomatic carriers in the community.


“That is why the Hospital Authority has now put up standard laboratory testing in out-patient clinics in order to find out more and whether such patients exist in the community.”

Back to top