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HK quarantines 18 close contacts of MERS patient

2015-June-1       Source: Xinhuanet.com

Eighteen people having close contact with a South Korean man infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have been sent to a quarantine camp, including two South Korean women who had earlier refused to be quarantined, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government has said.

Eighteen people having close contact with a South Korean man infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have been sent to a quarantine camp, including two South Korean women who had earlier refused to be quarantined, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government has said.

With the city on high alert over Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) on Saturday, the two Korean women among 18 plane passengers who sat close to the MERS patient have been tracked down in the Causeway Bay shopping district and quarantined, according to the HKSAR government news website on Saturday.

Secretary for Food and Health of HKSAR government Ko Wing-man said, with the assistance from the diplomatic personnel of South Korea in Hong Kong, the two women finally accepted to be quarantined.

"This is very important because once they are in the quarantine camp, our medical personnel from the Center for Health Protection will be able to chip in and conduct medical assessment," Ko said.

Hong Kong's health authorities have made plans for the 18 plane passengers to be quarantined for two weeks at the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village in Sai Kung.

The 44-year-old South Korean MERS patient flew from Seoul to Hong Kong on Tuesday before heading to the China's mainland by bus. He is thought to have contracted the deadly virus from his father, and traveled against the advice of doctors. He confirmed as China' s first imported MERS case, is currently being held in isolation at a hospital in Huizhou in China's southern province of Guangdong.

MERS was first identified in humans in 2012. The virus is similar to that which causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.

The number of South Koreans infected with MERS has risen to 15 after two new cases were detected, according to South Korean health ministry on Sunday.

The World Health Organization has reported more than 1,000 cases of MERS globally and more than 400 deaths.

Editor: Keane

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