As the first Type A H1N1 carrier in Hong Kong was found to be a guest in the Metropark Hotel in Wanchai, the hotel turned into an “infected building” in an instant. The 354 staff and guests working and staying in the hotel were being tracked and monitored, but up to 3rd May, the whereabouts of 50 guests were still unknown. The government stressed that the week following the discovery of the case was the “critical moment” for containment of the virus and both the police and immigration departments were searching earnestly for those missing persons. According to a report received by Wenweipo, two mainland visitors who had stayed in the hotel abandoned their luggage and ‘fled’ back home on 2nd May after learning about the quarantine measures imposed on the infected hotel the day before. They were not intercepted by the Immigration Department in the process and managed to return to Sichuan without being disrupted.
The couple visited Lamma Island together with their daughter on 1st May and had dinner in Causeway Bay. At 7 o'clock in the evening, they returned to the hotel and found that it was cordoned off. A police officer there told them to think it over as guests were allowed to enter but not to get out thereafter. After careful consideration, the couple decided to change plans and stay at the home of their daughter who resided in Hong Kong.
On the morning of 2nd May, they took a taxi to the China Travel Service office in Wan Chai where they boarded a cross-border coach and travelled via Huang Gang to Shenzhen. They took flight 3U8704 of the Sichuan Airlines later in the afternoon and landed in Sichuan in the evening. A source said that the couple showed no signs of flu symptoms and they were not worried about being infected.
York Chow, Secretary for Food and Health, said in a radio programme on 2nd May that the coming week was critical for fighting the disease and the government would remain on high alert. Chow anticipated the combat against the Type A H1N1 influenza to last for two to three months or even longer. As the virus spread at a high rate and could not be easily contained in a densely populated city like Hong Kong, stringent measures had to be taken at early stages so that the chance of infection could be minimized to the lowest level, he added. ■translated by 開明