BEIJING – China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission has notified the World Health Organization of a laboratory-confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in China. This is the first case of MERS-CoV in China.
The confirmed case is a Republic of Korea national in his mid-40s, who traveled to Guangdong province, China via Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) on Tuesday May 26. The patient is a close contact of a confirmed MERS-CoV case in the Republic of Korea.
The patient is in isolation in a hospital in Huizhou, Guangdong province. We understand he is currently in a stable condition, and is being well cared for.
Chinese health authorities acted swiftly in response to the initial notification from the Republic of Korea that the close contact of a confirmed-MERS case had traveled to China earlier this week. For example:
- local health authorities are tracing all known close contacts of the patient;
- the Guangdong Health and Family Planning Commission dispatched an expert team to Huizhou to conduct epidemiological investigation and sampling;
- Hong Kong SAR health authorities are tracing close contacts of the patient during his transit through Hong Kong SAR.
Based on the evidence about MERS-CoV gathered to date, the virus does not seem to pass easily from person to person unless there is close contact. There is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission.
WHO is communicating closely with the Chinese health authorities to support their response to the case.