Hong Kong Red Cross volunteers return from Ebola-stricken Liberia, free of disease

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 August, 2014, 2:45am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 August, 2014, 2:45am

Two local volunteers who worked to fight Ebola in Liberia arrived back in Hong Kong yesterday disease-free, as lawmakers gathered to discuss measures to prevent the deadly virus from entering the city.

Clinical psychologist Eliza Cheung Yee-lai and Dr May Yeung Pui-shan, both from Hong Kong Red Cross, showed no symptoms when they were stopped by health officers at the airport for preliminary assessments. They were allowed to leave without being quarantined.

"Eliza and I have finished our mission. Our health is good, and we are in good spirits," said Yeung, a public health expert.

The pair left Hong Kong for Liberia on July 22 to train and teach medical professionals and citizens. The West African country is one of those worst-hit by the deadly Ebola outbreak.

Health minister Dr Ko Wing-man said before the pair's arrival that the Health Department would monitor the two volunteers' health closely.

Red Cross deputy secretary general Bonnie So Yuen-han said that over the next 21 days - the incubation period for Ebola - the pair would monitor their conditions and keep the Health Department informed.

Since the outbreak began in March, Ebola has infected more than 2,400 people across West Africa. Its global death toll currently stands at more than 1,350.

Two suspected Hong Kong cases - a woman who had visited Kenya and a Nigerian man who fell ill - both tested negative.

In the Legislative Council, the health minister defended the government's decision not to issue a travel alert for the four Ebola-hit West African countries - Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan questioned why no warning was issued for the affected countries apart from an "important notice". Ko said travellers had been given enough information.