Health authorities in Hong Kong on Friday were scrambling to trace some 200 fellow passengers of a Korean national believed to be infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus who landed in the former British colony earlier this week aboard an Asiana Airlines jet.
The 44-year-old man became China's first suspected case of MERS, which causes a severe respiratory illness with a 40 percent mortality rate, and for which there is no vaccine or treatment.
China's National Health and Family Planning Commission said the man arrived in China for a business trip on Tuesday.
"He has family members who are infected and had close contact with them back in Korea," the official Xinhua news agency quoted the ministry as saying.
The man began running a fever on Monday and landed in Hong Kong on Tuesday, before traveling across the internal immigration border to neighboring Guangdong province by cross-border bus, it said.
Chinese health authorities are now holding the man under observation in an isolation ward, and notified the World Health Organization on Wednesday, the report said.
Hong Kong is on high alert for the virus, which is in the same family of coronaviruses such as the SARS virus, which killed 299 people in the city in 2003.
[link to http://www.rfa.org]