Ten Hong Kong people staying in Hubei Province have been infected with the new coronavirus, according to the central government.

The new SARS-like “covid-19” virus outbreak began in Wuhan, mainland China. There have been over 60,000 infections reported and over 1,360 deaths globally – most of which within China.

Previously, the Hong Kong government said over 2,000 Hongkongers were present in Wuhan and Hubei province, but they did not reveal details as to whether any of them were infected, nor whether they could return home.

Wuhan railway station. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Arnie97.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong Economic Journal and i-Cable news reported that a Hong Kong family of three in Wuhan – who were visiting relatives over the Lunar New Year – were unable to leave the city because it was closed off. All of them were infected with the new virus so they sought the Hong Kong government’s help to arrange for the father and the son to enter hospitals.

After the news broke, the Hong Kong government issued a statement saying that there were ten Hongkongers – three families – infected with the coronavirus in Hubei. Seven of them remain in Wuhan and three are in the nearby Enshi city.

The Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau said it immediately told Hong Kong’s Wuhan Economic and Trade Office (ETO) to render all possible assistance to the Hongkongers concerned after being informed of the situation.

A Hong Kong government letter to a Wuhan hospital asking it to take in a Hong Kong coronavirus patient.

“Thanks to the efforts devoted by Wuhan ETO in coordinating with the relevant authorities, six of them have been admitted to local hospitals within a short time, while the remaining four have made their own way to seek medical treatment from hospitals,” a spokesman said.

“At present, all of them are being treated in local hospitals and are generally in [a] stable condition,” it added.

“The Wuhan ETO will continue to maintain close communication with the people concerned, and will try its very best to provide assistance to them to ensure that they are receiving suitable treatment and medical care.”

Democratic Party lawmaker James To. Photo: inmediahk.net.

Democratic Party lawmaker James To said he received several calls for assistance from Hongkongers in Wuhan who wished to return home and receive medication.

To said many countries flew their citizens back home and Hong Kong should do so too: “The later the government does this, the more dangerous their situation will be,” he said.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.