Hong Kong has identified its first confirmed case of the mysterious Wuhan coronavirus, after isolating scores of suspected cases over the past few weeks, RTHK is reporting.
The state broadcaster attributed the information to an unnamed source, and said that Health Secretary Sophia Chan, Hospital Authority chief Tony Ko, and Director of Health Constance Chan are slated to formally announce the case and brief the media at 7:30pm.
Hong Kong health officials had identified more than 100 suspected cases of the little-understood strain of coronavirus, which first cropped up in the mainland city of Wuhan on Dec. 31. Since then, Chinese officials have identified more than 400 infections, and confirmed nine deaths related to the illness.
A panel of Hong Kong academics, however, have warned that statistical models indicate the scale of the outbreak could actually be much larger.
Cases have so far also cropped up in Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, Macau, Japan, Taiwan, and most recently, the United States.
In Hong Kong, the outbreak has rekindled fearful memories of the SARS outbreak, which killed nearly 300 people more than a decade ago. The apprehension prompted a recent run on face masks, causing prices to skyrocket.
The city has stepped up detection measures at points of entry in hopes of identifying suspected cases, and authorities have assured the public that they are in a state of high alert in dealing with the disease.
The World Health Organization called for an emergency meeting in Geneva today to determine whether the new virus constitutes a global health emergency.