On Wednesday (5 Feb), the authorities reported that among the attendees of a meeting where more than 100 international delegates were present, at least three Asian businessmen have been infected with the coronavirus, whereas the others have displayed symptoms.
This latest development shows that the virus is now propagating via human-to-human contact outside of China.
On Tuesday (4 Feb), Malaysia made a statement that its first infected citizen was a 41-year-old man who had also attended the meeting in mid-January where Chinese delegations had also been present.
South Korea also announced that two of its citizens who had attended the business event on Wednesday also contracted the virus.
The company business meeting saw 109 attendees at the venue Grand Hyatt Singapore Hotel on 20-22 Jan, with 94 of them being overseas attendees, Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) stated. Some of the recent cases originated at the meeting.
Out of the Singapore participants, four of them have developed symptoms and have been referred to Singapore’s National Centre for Infectious Diseases for further treatment.
No comments have been made with regards to the industry or company involved by the authorities.
According to the Gerald Kheng, the spokesperson for Grand Hyatt Hotel, after Singapore’s MOH notified the establishment about the infection on Tuesday, the hotel was then deep cleaned. However, the hotel was not aware of any other cases among its staff or guests.
Singapore was one of the countries that suffered the worst outside of China during the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic. As of now, 28 infected cases have been reported by the country which also includes some locally transmitted cases.
According to the city-state, there is no evidence to suggest that there is any widespread community spread but the government has announced new measures on Tuesday. This involves stopping group activities like school assemblies.
Media and business events have also been suspended by some firms in the country, such as the suspension of a big travel fair. However, the Singapore Airshow is still slated to be held in the following week even if on a smaller scale.
The cases of human-to-human spread in places outside of China is a cause for deep concern as it could mean a much bigger outbreak, the World Health Organisation (WHO) noted.
As of now, the number of deaths due to the coronavirus exceeded 560 people.