Coronavirus update: Health officials report man ‘contracted virus in 15 seconds’ from stranger

Chinese health officials carefully tracking the 14-day history of a confirmed coronavirus patient say the man contracted the killer virus by standing near an infected person for just 15 seconds.

The 56-year-old male patient had had no previous contact with animals and was not acquainted with any confirmed carriers of the virus in his native district of Jiangbei, in East China’s Zhejiang Province.

A report by the Jiangbei Health Commission said the man named only as ‘patient 5’ stood next to a confirmed female carrier - 61-year-old ‘patient 2’ - at a booth inside Shuangdongfang market on 23 January.

The report noted that at 7.47am local time, patient 5 came in brief contact with patient 2 for just 15 seconds while neither was wearing a surgical mask.

The same morning, patient 5 then went on to visit two more supermarkets and finally a restaurant before he was diagnosed with the pneumonia-like Wuhan coronavirus on 4 February.

Jiangbei health officials said 19 individuals who had close contact with the five confirmed coronavirus patients - among 18 carriers in the city of Ningbo - have since been put in quarantine.

The number of isolated individuals stood at 92 as of 5th February, the commission said.