HONG KONG, March 18 (Xinhua) - A total of 14 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 and another eight were preliminarily tested positive for novel coronavirus as of Wednesday noon, most of whom had overseas travel history, Hong Kong's Center for Health Protection (CHP) said, reiterating warning about the remarkable increase of imported infections.
Passengers wearing protective gear, as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, walk in the arrivals area after landing at the Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong on March 18, 2020. (Photo: AFP)
With the 14 newly confirmed cases, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong has risen to 181.
According to information provided at the CHP's daily press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, out of the 22 additional confirmed and preliminary positive cases, only one patient has no travel history during the incubation period.
The female patient, aged 50, is a staff of an international school in Hong Kong. The CHP is investigating into her source of infection, Head of the CHP's Communicable Disease Branch Chuang Shuk-kwan told the press briefing.
The other 21 people include several students who studied overseas, an athlete who traveled to France and Austria for training, a journalist who had been to Britain, and some Hong Kong residents who joined tour groups to western Europe, Egypt or India.
Controller of the CHP Wong Ka-hing said at the briefing that the number of imported cases will continue to grow as many people, especially students studying overseas, will come back in the coming one or two weeks.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government has decided to extend the compulsory quarantine measures starting from Thursday to cover inbound travelers who have been to all overseas countries or territories in the past 14 days, regardless of whether they are Hong Kong residents.
Wong noted that many people have returned to Hong Kong in recent days before the measures take effect, urging them to stay at home as much as possible and wear face masks all the time within the 14 days upon their arrival to protect themselves and their families.
In the past 24 hours, public hospitals across Hong Kong reported to the HKSAR government's Department of Health admission of 173 patients who met the reporting criteria of COVID-19, said Linda Yu, a chief manager of Hong Kong's Hospital Authority, noting that the number of suspected cases reported in recent days was significantly higher than before.
Sha said the increase of imported cases will continue in the coming days and the Hospital Authority will strengthen relevant facilities and services accordingly.
According to Yu, as of Wednesday noon the number of death cases in Hong Kong remains at four while the cured confirmed cases have increased to 94.