A South Korean man who arrived in the city of Hong Kong has been confirmed to be infected with the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS virus, Hong Kong authorities confirmed early this morning.
The positive test has led to 18 fellow passengers of Asiana Airlines Flight 723 being placed under quarantine.
The city’s health authorities said Saturday the 18 passengers were being held in the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village resort, located in a remote part of Hong Kong, for two full weeks. The passengers placed under the measure were seated within two rows of the infected South Korean man, but have thus far not presented any symptoms of the deadly condition.
A further 17 people are also under medical surveillance, while Hong Kong authorities are asking other passengers of the flight to contact them.
Officials said that the 44-year-old South Korean man flew from Seoul to Hong Kong on Tuesday and then took a bus to the Chinese mainland. The man is China’s first imported MERS case and is now being held in isolation at a southern Chinese hospital.
The fatality causing virus is similar to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS virus, which started in China in 2002.
At present fifteen cases of MERS have been reported in South Korea.