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Authorities seek contacts of mainland's 2nd H1N1 victim

NATIONAL health authorities expanded their search yesterday for travelers who might have been in recent contact with a 19-year-old student who returned from Canada and was confirmed as the Chinese mainland's second victim of swine flu.

Health officials yesterday placed a second Beijing hotel under quarantine after the man, identified only by his surname, Lu, tested positive for the H1N1 virus.

Also yesterday, a Hong Kong man tested positive for the virus, making him the region's second swine flu patient. The first, a Mexican man who transited through Shanghai, has already recovered and been released from hospital.

The Ministry of Health said Lu was recovering in isolation in the eastern city of Jinan in Shandong Province.

Lu arrived in Beijing with his girlfriend aboard Air Canada flight AC029 last Friday and spent three days in the capital before leaving on Monday by train for Jinan. He experienced a fever, sore throat and headache.

Lu was taken to an infectious disease hospital after arriving in Jinan, the health ministry said. The hotel where Lu stayed in Beijing was sealed off and staff members wearing masks were seen packing bundles of bed sheets into a van.

Another hotel in Beijing, where the first person on the mainland confirmed to have the disease stayed, has also been sealed. About 103 guests at that hotel have been ordered to remain there for a week.

The mainland's first case of swine flu, a 30-year-old student surnamed Bao who recently returned from the US, is expected to make a full recovery, the ministry said.

Local authorities have tracked down and quarantined about 350 passengers who traveled on the flight that brought him to China.

The latest patient in Hong Kong, a 24-year-old local resident, traveled recently to San Francisco and returned to Hong Kong on Cathy Pacific flight CX879 late Monday, said Thomas Tsang, controller of the Center for Health Protection.

The patient went to see a doctor at a clinic at the airport and was suspected of being infected with the H1N1 virus. He was then taken to the Princess Margaret Hospital and was in stable condition, Tsang said.

"The patient had no contact with the local community," he said.


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