Preliminary tests have shown that a tourist from Wuhan has contracted the new, SARS-like coronavirus from China, according to the Hong Kong government.

A mainland passenger arrived in the city on the G5607 Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link at 7:54pm on Tuesday with signs of a fever, a spokesperson for the MTR Corporation (MTRC) told HKFP. The man told Department of Health officials that he had been to Wuhan.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

He was sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei for checkups. Preliminary tests came back positive for the virus. Shortly before 6:30pm, the patient was transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung.

Update: Man undergoes tests after sharing train cabin with tourist infected with China coronavirus

The transit firm said it had arranged for cleaners to disinfect parts of the West Kowloon terminus where the passenger sat. It added that, since the train took the next round of passengers back to China before being notified about the case, the MTRC had instructed mainland authorities to clean the second cabin, where the infected passenger sat.

Nine people have died and 471 have been infected in China thus far, according to China’s National Health Commission. There have been four cases in Thailand, as well as single cases in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and the US. Macau authorities also said the city recorded its first confirmed case of the virus on Wednesday.

‘Situation stable’

Health Secretary Sophia Chan told the press on Wednesday night that the 39-year-old did not go to a wet market in Wuhan, nor was he in contact with any wild animals: “His situation is stable,” she said.

Princess Margaret Hospital patient
The patient being transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital.

The man travelled with four family members to Hong Kong on Tuesday, though none showed any symptoms, Chan said. The four stayed at the Empire Hotel on Kimberley Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, before flying to Manila on Cebu Pacific flight 5J111 on Wednesday.

Director of Health Constance Chan said he travelled from Wuhan to Shenzhen North station on an express rail train, before taking another train to Hong Kong. He was sitting in seat 2D inside cabin 2 of the Shenzhen North express train to the Hong Kong high-speed rail terminal. Chan asked anyone who sat in the same cabin to contact the government for check-ups.

Constance Chan Sophia Chan
From left: Constance Chan and Sophia Chan. Photo: NowTV screenshot.

She said the man was hospitalised following temperature checks after he left the train: “This case shows that temperature checks can help us find those who have fever symptoms,” she said.

Sophia Chan said earlier on Wednesday that the Leisure and Cultural Services Department had prepared two camps in remote parts of Hong Kong as potential quarantine sites.

Lady MacLehose Holiday Village
Lady MacLehose Holiday Village. Photo: GovHK.

The atypical form of pneumonia was first detected at a street market in Wuhan. It bears characteristics similar to SARS, which killed over 300 people in Hong Kong in 2003.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.