Hotpot, or steamboat, is a common and popular food that is eaten across Asia, where groups of people come together to cook their food in a communal pot of hot broth. It’s just as delicious as it sounds, asides from the fact that in the wake of the Wuhan novel coronavirus outbreak, it may be a little risky to be eating with large groups, as this report from Sin Chew Daily goes to prove.
A group of five friends who visited a popular chain of hotpot restaurants in Jiangsu, China probably didn’t think too much about going out to eat together. After all, when you go out with friends, you tend to enjoy and savour the time together even more.
But unfortunately, after having their meal together, two of the three friends started exhibiting what appeared to be symptoms of the Wuhan novel coronavirus and lo-behold, they tested positive. Jiangsu city authorities also announced that the three other friends are currently being kept under close observation for any signs of infection.
Aerosol transmission, according to a senior physician, could be the reason why this group of friends managed to catch the novel coronavirus. This tends to happen when large groups of people assemble together in a single place and release airborne particles via water vapour that may contain the infection. These particles can be recirculated by warm, humid places such as in indoor hot-pot restaurants, saunas, and humidifiers, before being inhaled by other people, causing further infection.
Jiangsu city authorities have also advised those who were there at the restaurant where five of the men were infected to stay home in self-quarantine, just in case.
Given how virulent the novel coronavirus is, it is probably a good idea for the time being to avoid large crowds. And of course, please always do remember to maintain good hygiene habits! Health is wealth!
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