- Hospital Authority confirms 23-day-old boy has been admitted to an isolation ward for treatment and coronavirus genome testing for ‘sake of prudence’
- Father did not tell A&E staff that he worked in a mainland hospital which had taken in new coronavirus patients, only declaring it later to other workers
A worker at a mainland Chinese hospital which had patients with the Wuhan coronavirus failed to immediately tell medical staff in Hong Kong of his occupation when he took his 23-day-old baby son, who had a fever, for treatment, local health authorities have confirmed.
The omission could have put the lives of the baby boy as well as other infants in the ward at risk.
In a statement released in the early hours of Monday, the Hospital Authority, which manages Hong Kong's 43 public hospitals and institutions, confirmed that the boy had been admitted to an isolation ward for treatment and coronavirus genome testing "for the sake of prudence".
Medical personnel would also keep a close eye on the other newborns in the ward.
Earlier on Sunday, rumours of the incident were doing the rounds on social media, sparking fury and consternation among internet users.
The authority said the boy was admitted to the accident and emergency department at United Christian Hospital in Kwun Tong with a fever on Sunday morning. The infant had not left Hong Kong and did not have any close contact with confirmed patients carrying the coronavirus, meaning his case did not need to be reported to the health authorities.
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The father did not tell medical staff at the A&E department that he worked in a mainland hospital which had taken in new coronavirus patients, only declaring it to other health workers later.
The authority said the father had not reported having a fever in the past 14 days, but the hospital had taken precautionary measures and put the baby in an isolation ward.
"The hospital urges residents to provide accurate information to medical personnel, and to work together to lower clinical risks," the statement said.
China has closed off 13 cities in Hubei while almost the entire country has declared an emergency response. Of China's more than 2,000 confirmed infections, more than half are in Hubei.
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To date, most of the people infected were in the 40-60 age range, health officials said earlier.
Hong Kong has raised its response to the highest level of emergency and battled to contain the spread of the virus, with a string of new measures including a ban on new arrivals who are Hubei residents or have been to the province in the past 14 days. Locals are exempted.
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