A 39-year-old man has died after contracting the new coronavirus – the first confirmed fatality in Hong Kong since the start of the outbreak.

The man went to Wuhan in China – where the virus was first detected – on January 21 via a high-speed train and returned to Hong Kong two days later. He did not visit a wet market or medical facility during his trip, according to information he provided to the government. He said he had experienced muscle pain since January 29 and fever since January 31.

Whampoa Garden
Whampoa Garden being cleaned.

The man, a resident of Whampoa Garden’s Phase 11 Block 1, was declared the 13th confirmed case of the coronavirus in Hong Kong on January 31. He was sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei for treatment and transferred to the Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung, where he died.

He was a long-term diabetic, Ming Pao cited a source as saying.

The Department of Health and Hospital Authority will reveal more details about the case at a press conference at 4:30pm on Tuesday.

The novel virus has infected at least 17,391 and led to 362 deaths globally as of Monday, according to the World Health Organisation. It bears symptoms similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed over 300 people in Hong Kong in 2003. Hong Kong has confirmed 15 cases of the coronavirus as of Monday noon.

More to follow.

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.