China coronavirus: three new cases test positive in Hong Kong, potentially increasing total number of patients to five

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    By sh33pymd,

    Source: SCMP

    As of Friday noon, the death toll from the Wuhan coronavirus in mainland China hit 26, among at least 875 confirmed cases. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

    Travellers at the departure hall of the West Kowloon rail station. The first coronavirus patient in Hong Kong was detected upon arrival at the station. Photo: HandoutTravellers at the departure hall of the West Kowloon rail station. The first coronavirus patient in Hong Kong was detected upon arrival at the station. Photo: Handout

    Hong Kong has three new cases of patients testing positive for the Wuhan coronavirus, potentially increasing the total number to five so far.

    Centre for Health Prevention controller Wong Ka-hing on Friday said preliminary results showed that two patients were infected although laboratory staff were doing further tests. The Post has also learned that a third patient tested positive for the coronavirus. Wong also revealed that Japan’s second confirmed patient had taken a plane to Hong Kong on a transfer flight to the Northeast Asian country, the patient had told authorities. Wong said the latest cases involved two 62-year-old women who had been in Wuhan within 14 days of falling ill. One was being treated in Tuen Mun Hospital and the other at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin.

    Two medical sources told the Post the woman in Tuen Mun Hospital had arrived in Hong Kong on January 19 and had gone to a hospital in Wuhan to visit a patient. The woman, a resident of Hankou in Wuhan, went to Tuen Mun Hospital on Thursday night. In Hong Kong, she stayed at her daughter’s home, they said. The second source said the woman in the Sha Tin hospital was one of two patients from Wuhan who tried to escape when they found out they needed to be put in isolation. Her husband also tested positive for the coronavirus, one of the sources said, making him the fifth case. Authorities had found the couple and put them in quarantine. Wong said the patient in Japan was from Wuhan and had taken a flight to Hong Kong on January 19. The patient then travelled on to Tokyo’s Narita airport on CX500. Cathay Pacific Group later said the patient had arrived on KA853.
     
    The first coronavirus patient in Hong Kong was a 39-year-old mainland tourist, who arrived at West Kowloon on Tuesday. The second, a 56-year-old Hongkonger, had visited Wuhan. The latest developments came as authorities reported 70 more suspected cases of infection as of noon over the past day as a result of broader criteria for people showing symptoms. The youngest case is a seven-month-old baby and the oldest patient aged 91. The total number of suspected cases reached 236 as of 8am on Friday. By evening, authorities said there were 96 patients hospitalised and in isolation, with 91 in stable condition. Two others were in serious condition, and another three were in critical condition because of their own illnesses.

    Earlier in the day, Dr Chung Kin-lai, the Hospital Authority’s director of quality and safety, said the increase was due to officials widening their reporting Wong and respiratory medicine expert Professor David Hui Shu-cheong said the city had stepped up measures at border checkpoints, but neither could say whether Hong Kong should close its borders with the mainland or ban suspected cases from entering. “I think we have been stepping up port health measures. But closing the border is beyond the health authority – it’s not a port health prevention control measure,” Wong said. Hui said it was decision to be taken at diplomatic levels. He added the city had not yet seen infections in the community as occurred during the Sars outbreak in 2003. But Hui urged the organisers of mass events to think more about the risks involved. “For example, the marathon, many people from different places will gather and participate, including some who might be coming from infected areas,” he said. He suggested the public wear masks on public transport or in crowded areas such as shopping malls. “It is not practical for ordinary people to wear a surgical mask all day,” he said, advising residents to use a new mask after taking off an old one to eat food.

    As of Friday noon, the death toll in mainland China hit 26, among at least 875 confirmed cases. The virus has spread to other areas of the world, including Thailand, Japan, and South Korea, while Macau reported its second case on Thursday, a 66-year-old tourist from Wuhan. The two confirmed cases in Hong Kong were treated as “highly suspected” after preliminary diagnostic tests returned positive results on Wednesday. Subsequent DNA test results confirmed their diagnosis on Thursday.

    Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable diseases branch at the Centre for Health Protection, said three people who had been in close contact with the two confirmed coronavirus patients in the city had been placed in quarantine at Princess Margaret Hospital and Tuen Mun Hospital. Another five people who had close contacts with the two patients had been placed in quarantine at one of the two holiday camps set for the purpose – Lady MacLehose Holiday Village and Lei Yue Mun Park. “So far, we’ve been able to trace 18 people who had close contacts with the two patients. We will keep tracking them,” she said. She said as long as those who had close contacts with the two confirmed patients were not tested positive for the virus, there was little chance for a massive outbreak of the disease in Hong Kong.

    Dr Chung of the Hospital Authority said the sharp rise in the suspected cases had posed a huge burden on isolation wards, with half of 570 isolation beds taken while more than 70 per cent of 309 isolation wards occupied. He said the Hospital Authority might have to reduce non-emergency medical procedures and services during Lunar New Year to cope with the rising demand for medical resources and manpower. “During this period, doctors may reduce their outpatient services. We will operate our drugs refill clinics to ensure patients get their prescribed medicines. I beg for public understanding,” he said. Dr Chung said some medical workers who had shown flu symptoms had been arranged staff accommodation on various hospital premises. “So far, no medical worker has been tested positive,” he said. He also said while the authority was trying to rent hotel rooms to temporarily accommodate its workers, most hotels had turned down its requests. He said a couple of patients who had come to hospitals with flu symptoms following visits to Wuhan, tried to run away when they knew they would be isolated. “The hospitals called police and intercepted them in the vicinity. They have already been placed in quarantine,” he said. There was also widespread online rumours that Chui Tak-yi, undersecretary for food and health who recently visited Wuhan to study the situation, was suspected of having been infected. But the government strongly refuted the claim, saying all members of the delegation to Wuhan were in good health.

    In Macau, the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau announced on Friday that following the Lunar New Year holiday, classes in non-higher education schools would be resumed on February 10 or later, instead of February 3. Schools have been asked to make necessary arrangements so students can carry out their exercises at home, while private teaching support centres and continuing education institutions have also been asked to postpone the restart dates of their activities to February 10 or later, depending on the situation at that time.

    Two patients in Macau, who have been tested positive for the virus, are receiving treatment at the Conde S Januario Hospital. Both of them are in a stable condition. Meanwhile, authorities have cancelled some activities associated with the annual Hong Kong Well-Wishing Festival in Tai Po due to the outbreak, though residents are still welcome to visit the wishing tree.


    Kenneth Ma wins Best Actor for first time at TVB Awards after 12 nominations

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    By sh33pymd,

    Source: The Straitstimes/MingPao

    Kenneth Ma said he was surprised at the win and thanked the audience for their reactions after he received the trophy.

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    Kenneth Ma has been crowned Best Actor for the first time at the TVB Anniversary Awards 2019 on Sunday (Jan 12), after having been nominated a whopping 12 times at the awards. 

    The 45-year-old actor, who broke off with girlfriend Jacqueline Wong last year after she was caught in a cheating scandal with married singer Andy Hui, won the award for his role as a doctor in medical drama Big White Duel. Ma was given a standing ovation after his ex-girlfriend Nancy Wu, rumoured girlfriend Natalie Tong and actress Ali Lee announced on stage that he was the Best Actor winner. The actor, who has been in the entertainment industry for more than 20 years, said he was surprised at the win and thanked the audience for their reactions after he received the trophy. "I consider myself a winner even if I do not win, as there are many strong contenders this year," he said. "I am lucky to have acted in Big White Duel." Big White Duel was one of TVB's anniversary dramas in 2019 and was well received when it was aired in June and July last year. It also won Best Drama Series and Most Improved Female Artist for actress Kelly Cheung. 

    Meanwhile, the Best Actress award went to Kara Wai for her role as a police chief superintendent in police drama The Defected. Like Ma, the 59-year-old actress won the award for the first time and became only the second Hong Kong actress after Carol Cheng to have won Best Actress for both television and movies.

    Both Miriam Yeung and Selena Lee won the Most Popular Female Character for their roles in romantic comedy Wonder Women and supernatural drama Barrack O'Karma respectively, the first time the award was shared in TVB history. This was the first time Yeung won at the TVB Anniversary Awards, while it was Lee's first individual award at the anniversary awards, Ming Pao Daily News reported.

    Actor-singer Pakho Chau won the Most Popular Male Character and Most Popular Drama Theme Song for Wonder Women. He disclosed after accepting the trophy that he was recently hospitalised for high fever, and he had to be supported by staff while leaving the stage.

    Veteran actor Lau Dan won the Lifetime Achievement Award, receiving the award from actress Nancy Sit, his co-star in TV drama A Kindred Spirit (1995 to 1999). Lau, who celebrated his 76th birthday on Monday and is the father of actor Hawick Lau, said this was his first award in 52 years of acting.

    The TVB Anniversary Awards 2019 was originally scheduled to be held in December, but it was postponed to January due to the Hong Kong protests. 


    Driver arrested after six die and 39 are injured in Hong Kong highway bus crash

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    By sh33pymd,

    Source: SCMP/On.cc/Appledaily youtube

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    Six passengers were killed and 39 injured on Wednesday after a public double-decker bus ploughed into a roadside tree, the impact ripping away most of its roof on Hong Kong’s Fanling Highway.

    Three men and two women died on the spot near Tsung Pak Long in Sheung Shui, while a third woman succumbed to her injuries in hospital. All of them had been sitting on the upper deck, and two passengers were tossed out of the KMB vehicle when it crashed into a roadside barrier before hitting the tree at around 4.15pm. The 56-year-old driver was arrested for dangerous driving causing death. KMB said he had been with the company for 18 years and had just returned for duty after taking a rest on Tuesday.

    Hong Kong’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, said she was shocked and saddened by the crash, as she offered her condolences to the victims and promised government support. A passenger who suffered minor injuries said the bus, on route 978 between Wan Chai North and Fanling, appeared to be travelling at normal speed when it ran into trouble. It was on its way to Sheung Shui when it crashed near a roundabout on Po Shek Wu Road. “There were broken limbs and someone had head injuries,” he said. “The staircase was smashed, and we had to come down from the rear with the help of firefighters.”

    Superintendent Chan Siu-ming of the New Territories North traffic police said the bus had been running on the slow lane, but veered into the roadside barrier on the left before hitting the tree. The bodies of three passengers were found on the left side of the upper deck and one body was recovered from the staircase. The two who were flung out of the upper deck were also killed.

    Ten fire engines, 16 ambulances and a mobile casualty treatment centre were deployed to the scene after the accident was reported at 4.19pm. A Hospital Authority spokesman said 39 people – including two children, aged three and 12 – received treatment in five hospitals. Six were in a serious condition, 28 were stable and five were discharged. The left side of the bus bore the brunt of the damage. The windscreen was smashed, top-deck seats at the front were dislodged and a part of the upper left side, along with the roof, was torn off. A passenger sitting on the lower deck said the bus had been going at normal speed. “I didn’t feel the bus braking before it crashed,” he said. “There was a loud bang. I first thought it had rammed into a vehicle in front. After I left the bus, I realised it had hit a tree and part of the roof was ripped off.”

    Andrew Kwan Chi-wai, safety director at KMB, said the driver had passed a health check in September, and had worked on the same route for more than two years. He had started work shortly before 7am and it was his last trip of the day when the bus crashed. The last time the driver was named in an incident report was for a minor case within a depot in 2017, Kwan added, and the latest accident had nothing to do with manpower issues that have cropped up in the past.

    The bus had been in service for five years and passed a test on Wednesday, the safety director said. An internal probe would be conducted and the company would work with police in the investigation, KMB said. “KMB is very concerned about the incident and has sent staff to the site and hospitals to learn more and comfort the injured,” a spokesman said, adding that the company would provide help to the families of the deceased and the survivors.

    The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and Beijing’s liaison office in the city also expressed deep sorrow as they offered condolences. After visiting some of the injured at one of the hospitals, Carrie Lam said five support bases would be set up to help those affected. A social worker would help each family of those who were killed. The government would continue to make sure safe franchised bus services were provided, Lam said. She noted that an independent review committee that looked into a fatal bus crash in Tai Po in February last year had come up with 45 safety recommendations. “We must have a detailed investigation to find out the cause of the crash this time, but we and the public should also review the recommendations to see if there is any room to strengthen them,” she said.

    Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, the city’s No 2 official, visited Kwai Chung Public Mortuary and was saddened to learn that one of the women killed had worked for the Social Welfare Department. He said the support bases would provide help to her family. Dr Lo Kok-keung, a former lecturer on mechanical engineering at the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong, said the impact of the force would have been about 42 tonnes, assuming the bus was running at about 60km/h (37mph). “The body and floor are usually made of reinforced glass fibre panels to make the bus lighter. They are not designed to withstand a crash. So in the case of a big impact, the bus can be torn apart easily,” Lo said. “Wearing seat belts may help the passengers avoid being thrown out of the vehicle on impact. If someone is thrown from a bus, they will hardly be able to survive.”

    North district councillor Chan Wai-tat said route 978 was one of the city’s longest journeys, covering 50.8km (32 miles), and he questioned whether driver fatigue was a factor. In February 2018, a KMB double-decker 

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      in Tai Po, killing 19 people and injuring more than 60. It was the city’s worst road accident in nearly 15 years. According to police figures, 99 people died in 98 fatal road accidents in the first 11 months of this year. In the whole of last year, 135 people died in 107 accidents. 


    Michael Lai, giant of film and TV music in Hong Kong, dies at 73

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    By sh33pymd,

    Source: SCMP/Ming Pao/Appledaily

    Lai won Best Original Film Score at the Hong Kong Film Awards for his work on Rouge. Photo: SCMP Pictures

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    Hong Kong on Sunday lost a key protagonist in the elevation of local film and music since the 1970s. Michael Lai Siu-tin, best remembered for award-winning lyrical tunes from TV and the big screen, died on Sunday at St Paul’s Hospital. He was 73.

    “At 7.55 this morning, our good friend Siu Tin passed away peacefully with family members and good friends at his side,” Nancy Sit Ka-yin, Lai’s long-time TV co-host, said in a statement. “Throughout the night, we were there singing his songs, one after another. Though his eyes were closed, we knew he was listening with fondness, and I couldn’t hold my tears,” she added.

    Lai had received treatment for pneumonia in May, and recovered to join Sit on the TV show Canto-pop at 50 in late July, in what would be his last public appearance. He was born in 1946, in the British colony just returned from Japanese occupation, to parents active in the arts and literary circles. His composer father, Lai Cho-tin, was a music director for films, and his mother was a prolific cultural critic for Chinese media, and the pair had come back to the liberated city after getting married in mainland China.

    Those connections helped land him movie roles, a screen debut coming in 1953 when he was just seven. A decade later, he had appeared in a total of 36 films. When it came to music, Lai was trained to play the classical piano. But his heart was with Elvis Presley, a cultural calling which would cause some conflict at home. “My father was very angry and he smashed the guitar Grandma bought me. I was heartbroken – three times, as he broke three,” he later told the makers of an oral history project.

    In his late teens, Lai decided to leave the family to pursue his passion for pop music. He joined a band in a nightclub, playing guitar and conga. There, he met the bandleader Joseph Koo Ka-fai, the father of Canto-pop. In 1973, Lai won third prize in his first songwriting contest. And the competition had been tough, Koo taking first place and James Wong, another iconic cultural figure, coming second. With Ask Me, a song featured in the film Jumping Ash in 1976, Lai became a household name as a songwriter. He continued to compose for a series of TV dramas, which back then could attract up to a million viewers.

    Lai excelled with his melodies for the big screen, and won Best Original Film Score at the Hong Kong Film Awards for his work on Rouge, a 1987 film starring Anita Mui Yim-fong and Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing. With more than 30 movies and 700 songs under his belt, the Composers and Authors Society of Hong Kong gave Lai the Hall of Fame Award in 2006.

    Philip Chan, an actor who left his day job in the police force to become a producer on Jumping Ash, recalled Lai, his La Salle College schoolmate, came to his aid by composing the title song for the movie. “I regret never praising him or thanking him enough for his friendship, his inspiration and his music. I think I know why. Michael is kind yet stern, humble yet bold,” Chan said on Sunday. “As the saying goes, it is when the wind has stopped that you notice the stillness of the willow tree. Yes, Michael is the willow tree of our Hong Kong music industry,” he adds. Lai is survived by a son from his first marriage, and his younger sister, Helen Lai, a master in contemporary dance. 


    Chiling Lin weds Akira in Tainan: Taiwanese authorities give couple oil, salt, vinegar, tea

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    By sh33pymd,

    Source: The Straits Times/TVBS News/Ming Pao/On.cc

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    Taiwanese model Lin Chi-ling married Japanese singer-actor Akira in Tainan on Nov 17, 2019.

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    The Taiwan model and Japanese actor-singer Akira are 

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     (Nov 17) in Tainan in Taiwan. Chiling Lin has asked guests not to give her hongbao. 

    Her choice to go traditional - Tainan is her father's home town - has solved the headache for the authorities in Tainan who want to reap publicity and ramp up its tourism appeal. Noting that the challenge to present Lin with appropriate gifts is harder to tackle than fielding a candidate for elections, Tainan mayor Huang Wei-cher said the authorities are treating the wedding as though the city is "giving Lin away". 

    It is gifting Akira's family with items that are linked to traditional marriage rites, such as oil, salt, firewood, vinegar and tea. Only the best sources in Tainan have been tapped for the products so that Tainan's honour will be protected.

    According to Taipei Times, the couple will also receive a set of silk bedsheets and pillow cases as well as dried longan and longan honey to welcome the arrival of sons in the family. Lin, 44, who

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     to Akira, 38, in June, will hold the wedding at the Tainan Art Museum. To allay fears of damage to the museum's Building One, which was once Taiwan's oldest police station, the event organisers will use the open space between the building and the newer Building Two instead.

    Taiwan News reported that the space has been rented out from 5.30pm until midnight on Sunday for NT$170,000 (S$7,580). The space can accommodate up to 15 tables. Up to 100 people are expected to turn up, with invitations reportedly sent to TV host Dee Hsu, comedian Mickey Huang, actress Ariel Lin and singer Wang Leehom among others. A live telecast showed Lin, reportedly wearing a Ralph Lauren gown, and Akira starting the ceremony from early in the afternoon. They gave speeches and received good wishes from family and relatives. 


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