Nine members of a Hong Kong family have reportedly been infected with coronavirus after sharing a meal together.
The Chinese family from the south-eastern region of Hong Kong reportedly shared a hotpot and barbecue meal together and the nine relatives made up 10 of the confirmed cases in the region on 9th February.
There were 19 people present at the gathering and the infected family members are aged between 22 and 68, according to reports.
The other confirmed case involved a 70-year-old man who has not left Hong Kong since 9th January and reportedly spent most of his time at home.
With the 10 new cases, the number of people infected in Hong Kong has now risen to 36, sparking fears in the administrative region.
Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the disease branch at the Centre for Health Protection, said: “We’re facing major difficulties in isolating the suspected cases and tracing those who had close contact with the confirmed patients.”
She added that some people are only showing mild symptoms and it is hard telling who might have the virus.
The doctor said: “If there are many people who have no symptoms or only mild symptoms and they have infected many others, then there isn’t much we can do to stop the spread.”
Meanwhile, two local medical sources claimed that a 69-year-old man with diabetes had also tested positive for coronavirus which could possibly raise the infected tally further.
He travelled to mainland China over a month ago and is currently in a critical condition in intensive care, according to local media.
Infectious diseases expert Dr Joseph Tsang Kay-yan said: “Infection among family members will continue to increase because we have not closed the border as stringently as Macau.”
Reports said that the number of people visiting Hong Kong has dropped significantly after a 14-day mandatory quarantine scheme to combat the outbreak started on 8th February.
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