SINGAPORE: The Singapore hotel that hosted three guests from Malaysia and South Korea diagnosed with the coronavirus said on Thursday (Feb 6) that it has since engaged an external agency to deep clean all its guestrooms.
Mr Willi Martin, general manager of Grand Hyatt Singapore said: "The Singapore Ministry of Health is still investigating the cases with the relevant authorities and has not advised details on how, where or when these individuals were infected with the virus."
The hotel has "elevated precautionary operational protocols" since receiving this news, he added. Deep cleaning measures have also been extended to public areas and restaurants, and the hotel's Damai's Spa and Fitness Centre.
The hotel has engaged a government-appointed external agency to conduct a thorough sanitisation and deep cleaning of the guestrooms, and is strictly following the National Environment Agency's Sanitisation and Hygiene advisory for hotel operators, said Mr Martin.
Malaysia's Health Ministry announced its first citizen case of the novel coronavirus on Tuesday. According to Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) the 42-year-old Malaysian man had attended a business meeting at Singapore's Grand Hyatt hotel that involved Chinese nationals.
The sister of the Malaysian man on Thursday also tested positive for the virus, becoming the country's first locally transmitted case.
In an update on Wednesday, MOH said the Jan 20 to 22 meeting was attended by 109 participants from one company.
Of those, 15 were Singapore residents and 94 were from overseas, said MOH. All of the overseas participants have left Singapore and MOH has informed the relevant health authorities, it said.
Grand Hyatt's marketing communications manager Gerald Kheng confirmed that the Malaysian had stayed at the hotel on Scotts Road from Jan 16 to Jan 23, and was diagnosed more than a week after returning home to Malaysia.
"We understand that the guest first experienced symptoms following his return home and was subsequently diagnosed by local authorities in Malaysia," he said on Wednesday.
"The Singapore Ministry of Health is still investigating the case and has not advised details on how, where and when this individual was infected with the virus.
"At this time, we are not aware of any other confirmed or suspected cases among our hotel guests or colleagues."
He said the hotel will support local authorities as they look into the situation.
TRACKING CLOSE CONTACTS
On Tuesday, authorities said they are tracking the Malaysian man's close contacts. He had developed symptoms on Jan 29 and tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Feb 3, they added.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, MOH's director of medical services Kenneth Mak said Singapore was in touch with authorities in Malaysia.
“We have got excellent relations with the Malaysian health authorities, we have been cooperating bilaterally,” Associate Professor Mak said.
He added: “We understand that the particular risk exposure was quite some time ago … There is a possibility that many of the people that took part in this particular meeting may (not be) in Singapore anymore.”
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said on Wednesday that a confirmed case – a 38-year-old South Korean man – had visited Singapore for a conference from Jan 18 to Jan 24.
South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the South Korean man had met with the Malaysian man who was later tested positive for the coronavirus.
On Wednesday evening, South Korean authorities confirmed another case of the virus. The 36-year-old man had attended the same conference as the 38-year-old South Korean man, the Korean Herald reported.
He too had come in contact with the Malaysian who tested positive for the coronavirus.
Authorities have not confirmed if they met at the Grand Hyatt hotel.
The South Korean man visited a local screening centre on Tuesday after becoming aware of the confirmed case in Malaysia, and was tested positive on Wednesday.