A family that arrived in China’s Guangzhou from Wuhan spread the virus to two other families while dining at a restaurant. The virus transmission happened through the AC airflow.
A family at restaurant in China spread coronavirus to two other families. (Reuters)
In January, when the coronavirus epicentre Wuhan was yet to be locked down completely, a family was dining at a restaurant in Guangzhou. The family had come from Wuhan and one of them was carrying the virus unknowingly. Days later, nine others who dined at the restaurant started showing symptoms of coronavirus.
The virus travelled through the air conditioner duct at the restaurant and infected three families sitting in the vicinity of each other who never engaged with the other.
Seventy three other diners and staff of the restaurant were not infected. The curious case of the Chinese restaurant has been cited by experts in a research paper in China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, reported the New York Times.
The experts have concluded that three families were infected by the one index patient belonging to ‘Family A’. This family with the index patient has been named by the Chinese experts as ‘Family A’ while the two other families are ‘Family B’ and ‘Family C’.
Family dined at the Guangzhou restaurant on January 24. Later that day a 63-year-old member of the family started coughing and developed a fever. She later tested positive for coronavirus.
According to the report, within two weeks, nine others who dined in the restaurant the same day, also tested positive for the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan.
Four of them were relatives of the woman while the others were from families sitting on tables on both sides of Family A’s table at the restaurant.
Chinese experts have drawn the conclusion that these unrelated families must have contracted the virus from the restaurant where they both spent over an hour sitting at a distance from Family A.
An air conditioner placed above Family C’s table blew air over the three tables in a southward direction where it hit the wall and returned.
As coronavirus had not spread beyond Wuhan in January, researchers believe Family A from Wuhan spread the virus to the other two families.
According to the NYT report, experts believe this case and other such cases will likely change dining patterns and the practice of eating out in the post-pandemic world.
The Chinese researchers have concluded that droplets carrying the virus was transmitted through the air conditioning unit in the restaurant and the direction of the airflow was a key contributer.