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Mers virus

Two visitors to Hong Kong taken to hospital with symptoms of deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome

Man and young granddaughter on China visit suspected of having contracted coronavirus after trip to Saudi Arabia

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 August, 2017, 11:33am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 August, 2017, 11:38am

Two foreign visitors to Hong Kong were taken to hospital on Thursday after showing symptoms of Middle East respiratory syndrome.

The 48-year-old man and his two-year-old granddaughter had recently visited Saudi Arabia before arriving via mainland China using the through train from the southern city of Guangzhou. It was not clear whether they boarded the train in Guangzhou or in nearby Changping in Dongguan. They arrived at Hong Kong’s Hung Hom station at about 6.18pm on Thursday.

A screening at the rail terminal by Hong Kong’s Port Health Office found the pair were suffering from fever and other suspected symptoms of the coronavirus.

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They were taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei by ambulance, and were in a stable condition on Thursday night, pending test results for Mers, a close relative of the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus that struck Hong Kong in 2003. The pair had had no known contact with camels – a risk factor for contracting Mers.

The MTR Corporation, which runs trains on the railway, said it had cleaned and disinfected the areas of Hung Hom station the pair had passed through, or stayed in, with bleach.

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The corporation told rail authorities on the mainland to cordon off and clean the area of the train next to seats 51 and 57 in coach 7, where the pair had been sitting. The train had departed Hung Hom again for the mainland before the Port Health Office had been able to do so.

The office appealed to passengers on board to see a doctor if they felt sick, and reminded travellers to the Middle East to avoid farms, barns or markets with camels, as well as contact with sick people and animals.