|09HONGKONG802||2009-05-02 06:36:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Consulate Hong Kong|
VZCZCXRO4769 OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC DE RUEHHK #0802 1220636 ZNR UUUUU ZZH O 020636Z MAY 09 FM AMCONSUL HONG KONG TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7526 INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY IA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA PRIORITY RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
UNCLAS HONG KONG 000802
1. Hong Kong Secretary for Health York Chow announced at a
press conference at approximately 2100 HRS on May 1 (HKT)
that Hong Kong has confirmed its first case of the H1N1 flu.
With this confirmation, the Hong Kong Government (HKG) raised
its Pandemic Response level to "Emergency," the highest of
its three-tier system. The confirmed case is a 25-year-old
Mexican national who flew to Hong Kong from Mexico, via a
connecting flight from Shanghai on April 30 (he reportedly
did not leave the airport in Shanghai).
2. The H1N1 patient successfully cleared health screening
checks upon arrival in Hong Kong (he did not register a fever
during passive screening or self-identify as ill) and
traveled by taxi to the Metropark Hotel located in Wanchai, a
popular tourist district on Hong Kong Island. Sometime after
checking into the hotel, he fell ill and went to a local
hospital, where he was admitted and tested for H1N1. He
developed a fever in the hospital. He has since been
transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital, the designated
facility for H1N1 cases, along with two traveling companions
and a local friend in Hong Kong. The subject is reportedly
stable and responding to treatment; the three companions are
reportedly symptom-free at this time.
3. In response to the confirmed H1N1, Hong Kong authorities
have declared the Metropark Hotel a quarantine site and are
not allowing any of the estimated 200 guests and 100 staff
members to leave. The HKG is also attempting to trace and
quarantine all crew and passengers sitting three rows in
front or behind the contact case on the aircraft. Health
Secretary Chow indicated the quarantine period could be up to
seven days and appealed to those in the hotel to cooperate
with health authorities.
4. Despite putting the city on the highest level of alert,
Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang said all social
activites and exhibitions will go ahead as normally scheduled
and schools will remain open. The HKG specifically announced
that an annual festival scheduled for May 2 which draws
several thousand visitors together on a small off-shore
island would go ahead as planned.
5. In response to the announced H1N1 confirmation and raising
of the HKG Pandemic Response Level, Post's Emergency Action
Committee (EAC) convened on Saturday, May 2 to review
Department and Post-specific tripwires and determine
additional courses of actions. After careful consideration,
the EAC confirmed that Post is now at Tripwire 2, due to the
confirmation of H1N1 in Hong Kong and the HKG's
forward-leaning and prudent actions and announcements. As a
result of this meeting and anticipating that additional H1N1
cases may be confirmed, the EAC determined that Post take the
following actions, in addition to those we decided on April
- An updated Warden Message was sent the morning of May 2
notifying the AMCIT community of the upgraded alert status
and providing updated information and links to appropriate
HKG, USG and State Department web sites.
- Intensified bio-protection cleaning protocols will be
initiated in Consulate facilities on Monday, May 4.