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Riku Tanaka
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February 6 16:36

World Health Organization opens investigation into Singapore conference to look into connection to coronavirus

On Wednesday, February 5th, South Korean and Malaysian officials have reported three established instances of coronavirus infection that are believed to be connected to a business conference that was held at the Grand Hyatt hotel and attended by 94 multinational employees. 
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Health officials from Singapore have additionally reported that four other people that attended the meeting were also displaying symptoms of infection.
A global firm has held a conference recently, attended by over one hundred staff members from many different nations. Out of those that attended the conference, at least three have been infected by the novel coronavirus from Wuhan. These developments have led the World Health Organization to open an investigation into the matter.

Despite the recent developments, the name of the firm which held the conference, nor its industry have been disclosed by authorities. However, what was confirmed by Malaysian health officials was the fact that individuals hailing from China, including one person that was from Wuhan, were also in attendance of the aforementioned conference.
The Malaysian government had initially discovered the connection to the business meeting in Singapore when it was confirmed that 41-year-old Malaysian national had attended the meeting alongside partners from China and was believed to have contracted the virus there.
South Korean officials quickly followed suit, reporting two instances of infection from individuals that had also attended the conference. South Korean media had added that the Malaysian and Korean businesspeople had shared a buffet meal during the conference.
Out of the fifteen Singapore natives that participated in the meeting, four have been diverted to the National Center for Infectious Diseases, according to Singapore's ministry of health. As of now, every one of the multinational participants of the conference has left the city-state, the authority noted.
Gerald Kheng, a spokesman for the Grand Hyatt had made an announcement on the matter, stating that the location had been thoroughly cleaned after the hotel had been first informed by the health authority on the matter on Tuesday. Kheng added that there were no cases visitors or staff that he was aware of.
The cases connected to the Singapore conference add to the mounting amount of proof that the infection is being transmitted through human-to-human contact outside China’s borders. This factor is deeply troubling, according to WHO, which has said that it could be a sign of a much larger outbreak.
"WHO is coordinating with relevant ministries of health in relation to it," Olivia Lawe-Davies, a spokeswoman for the WHO, said in response to questions from Reuters."As countries are stepping up surveillance, the detection of more cases of local transmission can be expected," she added.
The most recent figures from Singapore show that 28 instances of the coronavirus, including those that involve person-to-person transfer.
Chinese authorities have reported its largest daily spike in fatalities from the infection on Thursday, which rose to 73, totaling 563 people since the outbreak started in late December of 2019. Although this figure can seem quite large, it is worth noting that only two cases resulting in death have been announced outside mainland China’s borders.
Singapore concluded that there was no signs of widespread infection in the area, however officials have declared new prudent actions on Tuesday including the cancellation or delay of crowded events.
A few firms in Singapore have also canceled or deferred business and media activities, including a large travel fair, however the Singapore Airshow is set to proceed next week, though on a smaller scale than originally planned.