SEOUL: An international business gathering at a plush Singapore hotel has been linked to coronavirus cases that have spread across the region, in a worrying sign of secondary transmissions from an epidemic that originated in China.
Malaysia on Tuesday said its first citizen to be infected with the virus – a 41-year-old man – had attended a meeting in Singapore in mid-January that had included several international delegations, some from China.
A 38-year-old South Korean man who came into contact with the Malaysian when he travelled to Singapore for a business conference has also been infected, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said on Wednesday.
He had a meal with the Malaysian man, as well as several other South Koreans during the conference, South Korea’s Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported.
Singapore’s health ministry said on Tuesday that the meeting involving the Malaysian took place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, adding the city-state was working to identify individuals in close contact with the cases.
Singapore’s health ministry did not immediately reply to a request for additional comment on the Korean case on Wednesday.
A spokesman for the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Singapore could not be immediately reached for comment.
Singapore – one of the worst-hit countries outside China in the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) – has reported 24 cases of coronavirus, including some local transmission cases.
The death toll from the epidemic – believed to have surfaced late last year in a market selling illegal wildlife at the central Chinese city of Wuhan – passed 490 on Wednesday.