Hong Kong will turn two holiday camps, including a former military barracks, into quarantine zones for people who may have come into contact with carriers of the Wuhan virus, officials announced Thursday.
The international financial hub has been on high alert for the virus, which has killed 17 people since the outbreak started in central China.
The same sites were used as quarantine facilities during the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak 17 years ago.
Nearly 300 people in Hong Kong were killed by SARS, a tragedy that left a profound psychological impact on one of the most densely populated places on earth.
So far two people in the city have tested positive for the new coronavirus — which is similar to the SARS pathogen. Both had visited Wuhan in recent days. They are being treated on isolation wards in hospital.
The gambling hub of Macau, which is hugely popular with mainland tourists, also confirmed two cases this week. On Thursday, Macau’s tourism bureau announced it was cancelling all official Lunar New Year celebrations in response.
In Hong Kong, officials announced they would convert two holiday parks to isolate any potential cases while they await test results.
“We will have a full team of staff to operate the quarantine camps,” Wong Ka-hing, the director of the Centre for Health Protection, told reporters.
Wong said three people who had come into close contact with the two confirmed cases would be taken to a camp in rural Sai Kung district later Thursday.
Another holiday camp, a former British military barracks on Hong Kong island, was being prep