Hong Kong boosts alert level as pneumonia cases rise
HONG KONG — The Hong Kong government activated the serious response level for infectious disease as more pneumonia cases were found in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province.
Speaking on an RTHK radio program, the Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said two more people had fallen ill after returning from Wuhan, raising the total number of cases in Hong Kong to seven.
She said the government had decided to step up its monitoring of the situation after a meeting with experts on Friday, RTHK reported.
The serious response level is the medium level in a three-tier response system – alert, serious and emergency – for an outbreak of Novel Infectious Disease of Public Health Significance.
The government made the decision following the risk assessment of the cluster of cases of viral pneumonia with an unknown cause in Wuhan reported by the National Health Commission.
The tests on the exact pathogens and the search for the cause of the infections are underway. Common respiratory diseases such as influenza, bird flu and adenovirus infections have been ruled out.
A spokesman for the Center for Health Protection of the Department of Health said the current cluster of viral pneumonia cases in Wuhan can be regarded as a Novel Infectious Disease of Public Health Significance, which may cause human infection and has the potential to lead to international spread and public health emergency.
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