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Hong Kong reports first confirmed flu case
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Hong Kong reported the first confirmed case of influenza A/H1N1 infection in the city on Friday, prompting authorities to immediately raise the flu alert level from serious to the highest level of emergency.

"The patient is a Mexican arriving in Hong Kong on Thursday by air via Shanghai," Chief Executive Donald Tsang told reporters after an emergency meeting with senior officials of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government.

The patient, a 25-year-old male, checked into the Metropark Hotel in Wanchai, Hong Kong, on Thursday afternoon and developed flu symptoms such as lethargy, cough and a sore throat in the evening. He went to see the doctor at the nearby Ruttonjee Hospital at around 8:00 p.m., Secretary for Food and Health York Chow said.

Preliminary tests thereafter showed the patient was positive for the new strain and further laboratory tests confirmed the result on Friday evening. The patient was currently in quarantine and in stable situation at the Princess Margaret Hospital.

The announcement came after a daily briefing on the flu situation scheduled for Thursday afternoon was abruptly canceled and senior officials of the HKSAR were seen gathering for the emergency meeting.

The Metropark Hotel has been cordoned off even before the emergency meeting concluded, and no one was allowed out of the hotel. Policemen and health security personnel outside the hotel were wearing masks, Xinhua reporters at the scene said.

Tsang urged people to keep calm, saying that he would head a task force to fight the flu and the HKSAR government would do its best to contain the spread of the flu.

Chow said the patient sat at seat 23A onboard the China Eastern Airlines MU505, adding that the passengers in the three rows before or behind the Mexican shall be observed in quarantine.

Two others accompanying the man on a taxi from the Hong Kong International Airport to the hotel and a local friend of the man he met was also in quarantine.

Chow called on the taxi driver to call authorities for help.

Prevention measures have been enhanced at the airport and on the local transit system.

(Xinhua News Agency May 2, 2009)

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