An outdoor recovery center is set to be turned into a quarantine facility for close contacts of monkeypox patients, after Hong Kong earlier registered its first confirmed overseas case.
Health officials said Monday night the Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Center on Hong Kin Road would be repurposed from Tuesday as part of the government’s response plan to prevent the spread of the disease.
Authorities put the strategy into action when a 30-year-old man became the city’s first case of monkeypox last Tuesday after returning to Hong Kong from the Philippines on September 5.
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The patient’s recent travel history also included Canada and the United States, with health officials saying they suspect he contracted the disease in the latter country.
While none of the approximately 80 passengers or crew who shared Philippine Airlines Flight 300 with the man Sept. 5 have been identified as close contacts, authorities have contacted all of them to test samples, as well as all hotel and medical workers, who came near Patient.
A Health Ministry spokesman said the recovery center could provide about 100 beds, with the site continuing to be used depending on whether there were local cases of the disease.
Monkeypox vaccine will be available in Hong Kong within the month
The Department of Recreational and Cultural Services, which manages the center in Sai Kung, had previously announced the venue would be temporarily closed from Tuesday, but gave no further details at the time.
The department had previously announced that the center would reopen as an outdoor recreation venue from August 25, after initially being used as a coronavirus isolation facility.
Hong Kong authorities have listed monkeypox as a reportable disease, meaning doctors must report suspected or confirmed cases to the Center for Public Health.
As of August 17, more than 35,000 cases of the disease have been reported in 92 countries and territories, including 12 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
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