HK customs seize 68,000 fake masks, coronavirus cases hit 12

HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported its 11th and 12th cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, a day after customs seized 68,000 surgical masks with a suspected false manufacturing date.

The Department of Health said on Friday that two more people had tested positive for the virus, bringing the confirmed cases in the city to 12.

The 11th case involved a 37-year-old woman residing at Coronation in Yau Ma Tei who is the daughter of the ninth and tenth people in Hong Kong confirmed to have been infected, according to a press release issued by the department on Friday. She had stayed at Hong Kong with her parents from Jan 22 to 28 and visited The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong and Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong. She accompanied her parents to Queen Mary Hospital on Tuesday and then returned home. She had not visited any wet market or seafood market during the incubation period. She is now in stable condition.

Another case involved a 75-year-old man residing in Hong Mei House, Cheung Hong Estate in Tsing Yi. He developed cough and shortness of breath on Jan 22 and sought treatment at Princess Margaret Hospital on Jan 24.

He is now in a stable condition and being treated in isolation at Princess Margaret Hospital.

According to the patient's information, he visited Shunde in Guangdong province from Dec 30 last year to Jan 7 this year and sought treatment at a clinic there. He took day trips to Macao from Jan 10 to 14. His wife, daughter and son are asymptomatic and will be transferred to Lady MacLehose Holiday Village for quarantine, according to the department.

On Thursday, Hong Kong customs seized surgical masks with a manufacturing date of March 2020 at a pharmacy on Nelson Street in Mong Kok. They were packed in boxes, each containing 50 pieces priced at HK$280, with a market value of about HK$380,000.

A 27-year-old man in charge of the shop has been arrested.

The customs said it would look into the sources of the seizure and send samples to the government laboratory for safety tests.

The department launched a citywide special operation on Jan 27 to inspect retail spots in different districts that sell surgical masks. So far, more than 1,300 of those spots have been inspected.

The customs reminded people to pay attention to the information on the mask packages, including the manufacturing and expiry dates, and check them for any dirt or signs of use before making purchases. Customers are also advised to purchase masks at reputable shops.

(Source: China Daily)