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DH closely monitors additional overseas fatal case of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus

22 February 2013

The Department of Health (DH) is today (February 22) closely monitoring an additional fatal case due to infection with the novel coronavirus reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) by the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The patient was hospitalised on January 29 and passed away on February 10. The case was laboratory confirmed on February 18. Further investigation into the case by the health authority of Saudi Arabia is ongoing.

This latest case brings the total number of confirmed cases of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel Coronavirus globally to 13 (including seven deaths), of which six are from Saudi Arabia (including four deaths).

"In view of the latest development, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health will seek more information on this case from the WHO and relevant health authorities. The CHP will stay vigilant and continue to work closely with the WHO and overseas health authorities to monitor the latest development of this novel infectious disease," a DH spokesman said.

Locally, enhanced surveillance and control measures for the disease have been put in place. Starting from today, laboratory surveillance for the novel coronavirus will be further enhanced. For cases of pneumonia with unknown cause, pneumonia cases requiring intensive care, clusters of pneumonia or health-care workers with pneumonia, routine testing for novel coronavirus will be carried out irrespective of travel history.

"The CHP will continue its surveillance mechanism with public and private hospitals, practising doctors and the airport for any suspected cases of severe respiratory disease associated with novel coronavirus," the spokesman remarked.

"No human infection with this virus has been identified so far in Hong Kong," the spokesman stressed.

The spokesman advised travellers returning from novel coronavirus-affected countries with respiratory symptoms to wear face masks, seek medical attention and reveal their travel history to doctors.

22 Feb 2013