Hong Kong Hong Kong lifted a weeklong quarantine Friday of an upscale hotel where Asia’s first swine flu case was traced, allowing 280 guests and workers to end an isolation that was criticized as overkill by some but a medical necessity by authorities.
Towing suitcases and beaming, some guests of the Metropark Hotel found it hard to contain their delight as they poured from the glass double doors to waiting buses, divided from waiting reporters by metal barriers.
“I’m happy! I love Hong Kong people!” shouted a South Korean businessman, before breaking into song and hugging a policeman as he stepped out.
“It’s nice to smell fresh air,” added a British man who identified himself only as Matt.
Asia has been largely spared the virus that continues to claim lives in worst-hit Mexico, which announced its 45th death and 159 more cases Friday even as it emerged from a national shutdown that closed schools and businesses, and shuttered churches and soccer stadiums. The swine flu virus has now spread to 30 countries, killed at least 47 people and sickened more than 3,100 worldwide.