Health officials in Hong Kong are conducting a partial evacuation of residents from an apartment block following possibility that the coronavirus may have been transmitted via the building piping system, Professor KY Yuen said during an impromptu midnight press conference held on Tuesday morning local time.
Health officials have traced at least two confirmed cases of the coronavirus to the specific residential building called Hong Mei House in the Tsing Yi area of Hong Kong.
"As the pipeline that transfers feces is connected to the air pipe, it is very likely for the virus in the feces to be transmitted through the air fan into the toilet," Professor Yuen said.
Parts of the building were evacuated as a precaution while health officials and engineers carried out emergency checks, he added.
Professor Yuen said that the transmission route is not clear yet, so the evacuation was taken to protect the residents of the building.
This comes as local health officials confirmed that both the 42nd confirmed and latest case in the city and the 12th confirmed patient both lived in Hong Mei House. The 12th case was confirmed on January 30 and the 42nd case was confirmed on February 10.
Hong Kong now has 42 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus.