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Chinese Authorities Quarantine Airline Passengers

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on May 3, 2009

Chinese health authorities said they have found and placed under quarantine 164 of the 189 passengers and crew members aboard a flight from Mexico to Shanghai that carried a man now ill with the A/H1N1 flu virus.

[AeroMexico Flight] 

The man with the A/H1N1 flu virus arrived in Shanghai on AeroMexico flight AM 98 and continued on to Hong Kong on China Eastern Airlines flight MU 505. He developed a fever after arriving in the territory Thursday afternoon.

None of those being held in isolation have become ill, according to Shanghai city health officials. So far, no cases of the new flu strain have been identified in mainland China.

As of Saturday evening, authorities were still searching for others on board the AeroMexico flight that carried the 25-year-old Mexican who transited Shanghai and arrived in Hong Kong Thursday.

Tests in Hong Kong confirmed Friday that the sick man was infected with the A/H1N1 virus. In response, Hong Kong’s government placed the hotel where the patient was staying under involuntary quarantine for seven days.

Saturday, Hong Kong authorities said they’ve been unable to find around 50 guests registered at the sick man’s hotel, the Metropark, in Hong Kong’s Wanchai district. However, they said no new cases of the A/H1N1 virus have been found since the one confirmed patient was identified.

Thomas Tsang, controller of Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection, downplayed the risk posed by unaccounted for guests at the Metropark to the general public, noting that the people who have had closest contact with the Mexican flu patient so far haven’t tested positive for the disease. Nonetheless, he encouraged unaccounted for guests to contact the police.

Of the people who flew with the Hong Kong-bound patient from Mexico to Shanghai, 48 passengers and all 13 crew members aboard the flight remained in Shanghai, according to Shanghai city health officials. All but one have been located and placed under observation for seven days in a hotel.

Another 41 people traveled on to Guangdong province, where authorities have placed 37 in isolation. Four haven’t yet been found. All 15 of the passengers who ended up in Beijing have been placed under quarantine in a hospital in the Chinese capital. Passengers have also been placed in isolation in Jiangsu and Hebei provinces.

People who had sat near the patient on his China Eastern Airlines flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong have been reached, and those still in Hong Kong have been placed under quarantine or hospitalized, Hong Kong’s Mr. Tsang said.

Earlier Saturday, South Korean health authorities concluded that a woman who spent a week in Mexico in late April contracted the virus, the first South Korean to be confirmed with the illness.

—Kersten Zhang contributed to this article.

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