Coronavirus: Gas analysis conference at Grand Hyatt Singapore linked to infections

A 27-year-old Singaporean man who was at the business event at the Grand Hyatt Singapore is among those confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - The business event at the Grand Hyatt Singapore that has been linked to at least five coronavirus cases in three countries was hosted by a global gas analysis company with offices in Europe and Asia.

The conference, held over three days from Jan 20, was organised by British firm Servomex, Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported.

Singapore's Ministry of Health had previously said that 109 company employees - 94 from overseas and 15 local - attended the conference.

A 27-year-old Singaporean man who was at the meeting is among those confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus, which originated from the central Chinese city of Wuhan. One foreign employee at the meeting was from Wuhan.

The company did not reply to queries from The Straits Times.

Two South Koreans, aged 36 and 38, and a 41-year-old Malaysian who were at the meeting also tested positive after returning home, sparking an investigation by the World Health Organisation.

On Friday (Feb 7), a middle-aged British man who attended the meeting was also confirmed to have the virus. He is the first British national to contract the virus.

He was taken to St Thomas's Hospital in London and is currently being treated at a specialist infectious diseases unit.

A member of a lion dance troupe that had performed at the Servomex Sales Conference at the Grand Hyatt on Jan 20 said eight other troupe members performed onstage during the event.

The group learnt through news reports that it was the same business event where several attendees were later found to have contracted the coronavirus.

"We were a bit shocked. But the performance was only five to 10 minutes long and they left straight after," said the troupe member, who did not take part in the performance.

He added that his colleagues neither had direct contact with the conference members nor ate any food there. None of those in the lion dance troupe has shown any symptoms of the virus or been asked to take a leave of absence, he said, adding that members are taking precautions, such as daily temperature monitoring.

Grand Hyatt Singapore's general manager, Mr Willi Martin, said on Thursday that details about the three infections in the hotel were still sketchy.

"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," he said.

The hotel has since engaged a government-appointed external agency to conduct a thorough sanitisation of potentially impacted rooms, said Mr Martin. Deep-cleaning measures have also been introduced in public areas, restaurants, meeting spaces, guestrooms and the hotel's spa and fitness centre.

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