Coronavirus Outbreak

Picture of a microscope in clinical practice

Doctors' survey about coronavirus impact

The Licentiate Society surveyed non-locally trained doctors to collect their views and experiences on the impact of the new coronavirus outbreak on their medical practice in Hong Kong and on Hong Kong’s healthcare.

                   View survey results here

        View Licentiate Society statement here

                Survey media coverage here


The survey was conducted between 01 Feb 2020 (19:00 HKT) and 04 Feb 2020 (22:00 HKT) with 230 respondents.

Situation Update: 22/02/2020; 14:00 HKT; 01:00 EST:

· Illness Stats - Total number confirmed cases: 77,767 (2,360 deaths; 20,856 recovered. Hong Kong: 69 cases. 

Sources: John Hopkins CSSE 2019-nCoV tracker and SCMP coronavirus tracker.


· Transmission rate (RO) 3-4% (3-4 infected from 1 case); Fatality rate (CFR) 2% (2 death for every 100 cases); Incubation period 1-14 days (up to 2 weeks without symptoms)。Essentially unchanged.

· There seems to be slowly rise of infected count, WHO and CDC are expressing that it is still too early to say if this virus infection is under control.

· Currently affecting 30 countries; death has been reported outside China such as Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, France, Philippines and Iran.

· CCDC (Chinese CDC) published the first detailed case series of 44,000 COVID-19 patients, the biggest study since the outbreak; They found that 80% have been mild, 13.8% as severe and 4.7% as critical. Preexisting illness put patients at risk, CVD, DM, chronic respiratory disease and hypertension. 

· The death rate in Hubei is 2.9% compared with 0.4% in the rest of China, so overall the death rate is 2.3%.

· The paper says more than 3000 health care workers have been infected. Director of Wuhan hospital died of COVID-19 infection; also Singapore NUH administrator was diagnosed with the infection.

· More evidence revealed significant local community transmission between human to human: especially in HK (domestic helpers); Taiwan (sister of the taxi driver); Japan (Diamond Princess cruise ship, taxi driver), Singapore ad South Korean church congregations

· The study suggested that downward trend in the overall epidemic curve could mean that “isolation of whole cities, broadcast of critical care information (e.g. promoting hand washing, mask wearing, and care seeking) with high frequency through multiple channels is helping to curb the epidemics. But many people are retuning from a long holiday, so there might be a second wave of infection after the return of the citizens.

· University of Texas scientist published the 3D image of the virus COVID-19 and this will facilitate the making of vaccines.

· HK school board suggest to delay the return of the students until March 16.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a novel Coronavirus, a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with SARS, MERS and now COVID-19.

Most Coronaviruses cause mild to moderate respiratory illnesses such as the common cold, they spread through coughing, sneezing, or touching an infected person.

Timeline of COVID-19

31 Dec 2019: Chinese authorities alerted the WHO of a string of pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people within central of Hubei Province.

1 Jan 2020: CDC of US identifies several of the infected cases worked at or visited at a large seafood and animal market, suggesting a possible zoonotic origin to the outbreak. Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was shut down.

5 Jan 2020: Chinese officials and experts revealed tests showed that cases were due to a new coronavirus, which was named “2019-nCoV.”

11 Jan 2020: Chinese health authorities announced a first person has died of age 61 male who had visited the seafood market. 

13 Jan 2020: First case of 2019-nCoV (later re-named COVID-19) was reported outside of China in Thailand by WHO.

15 Jan 2020: China National Health Commission denied human to human transmission but the possibility “cannot be excluded”.

16 Jan 2020: First confirmed case in Japan.

17 Jan 2020: Second person of age 69 male died in Wuhan; US CDC announced passenger screenings from Wuhan at San Francisco, NY JFK and Los Angeles airports.

20 Jan 2020: 100 new confirmed cases and third person died. Human to human transmission is “affirmative” reported by CCTV. First confirmed case in South Korea.

21 Jan 2020: First case in Taiwan and USA. 

22 Jan 2020: First case in Macau and Hong Kong. New data showed increased in the rate of transmission.

30 Jan 2020: International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the WHO declare the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). A PHEIC is declared if an event poses a public health threat to other nations through the spread of disease and potentially requires a coordinated international response.

31 Jan 2020: US Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency (PHE) for the US.

Symptoms of COVID-19 infection

Lancet; 1-30-2020; Prof. Chen Nanshan reported 99 confirmed COVID-19 cases by PCR, age 21-92, had the following symptoms:

– Fever 83%

– Cough 82%

– Bilateral pneumonia 75%

– Unilateral pneumonia 25%

Severity of COVID-19 illness

Both MERS and SARS have been known to cause severe illness in people. The complete clinical picture with regards to COVID-19 is still not fully clear. Reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.


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