China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission has notified the World Health Organization of a laboratory-confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in China. This is the first case of MERS-CoV in China.
The confirmed case is a Republic of Korea national in his mid-40s, who travelled to Guangdong province, China via Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) on Tuesday May 26. The patient is a close contact of a confirmed MERS-CoV case in the Republic of Korea.
The patient is in isolation in a hospital in Huizhou, Guangdong province. We understand he is currently in a stable condition, and is being well cared for.
Hong Kong health officials provided the following details on the travels the case:
“Our immediate follow-up investigation and ongoing contact tracing of the Korean suspected case reported yesterday (May 28) revealed that there were 158 passengers onboard Asiana Airlines flight OZ 723 on May 26 and among them 80 were in the same cabin, including 29 passengers sitting within two rows of the suspected case. Contact tracing is now in full swing with the assistance of the airline concerned and the Immigration Department,” the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) spokesman said.
As regards the land transport from Hong Kong International Airport to Huizhou in Guangdong Province taken by the suspected case, the CHP’s further investigation has revealed that contacts of the suspected case were in three vehicles operated by Eternal East Cross-Border Coach Mgt. Ltd. Details are as follows:
(1) Bus from Hong Kong International Airport to Sha Tau Kok (plate No.: PJ 2595)
Departure time: 3pm on May 26
The first coach taken by the suspected case travelled from Hong Kong International Airport to Sha Tau Kok. There were 21 passengers and one driver onboard.
(2) Bus from Sha Tau Kok to Huizhou (plate No.: HN 5211)
Departure time: 4.46pm on May 26
The suspected case transferred to another coach travelling from Sha Tau Kok to Huizhou. There were 13 passengers and one driver onboard.
(3) Seven-seater car from Sha Tau Kok to Danshui (plate No.: NF 4501)
Departure time: 4.36pm on May 26
Three passengers, who had taken PJ 2595 (travelling from Hong Kong International Airport to Sha Tau Kok), transferred to a seven-seater car from Sha Tau Kok to Danshui. There were three passengers and one driver onboard.
The spokesman strongly appealed to passengers onboard Asiana Airlines flight OZ 723 who travelled from Korea to Hong Kong on May 26 and those onboard the three vehicles to call the CHP’s hotline on 2125 1111 for further assessment or follow-up. The hotline will operate until 9pm today.
“We have made necessary preparations in advance and are ready for other disease control measures if necessary. The CHP has issued letters to doctors and hospitals to alert them to the latest situation. Members of the public and the health-care sector should heighten vigilance and stay alert to the latest situation,” the spokesman added.
The total number of MERS patients in the South Korea cluster to date stands at 10.