Hotpot is latest casualty of Covid-19 virus
HONG KONG Hotpot has become the latest casualty of the Covid-19 virus outbreak after 10 members of a family in Hong Kong became infected after sharing the dish, a beloved communal favourite during winter.
Health experts have sounded warnings after a cluster of cases were discovered in one Hong Kong family who shared a hotpot with a carrier from China over the Chinese New Year holidays.
As the 10th positive case was confirmed within the family on Monday, stocks for large hotpot companies with restaurants in Hong Kong and China plunged.
Xiabuxiabu closed down 7.1 per cent, Haidilao ended 4.8 lower while Yihai International, which makes seasonings and sauces for hotpot, dropped 2.7 per cent.
In Hong Kong, major restaurant chains including Fairwood, Cafe de Coral, Yoshinoya and Maxim's announced they were temporarily pulling hotpot from their menus.
Maxim's also confirmed that two of the infected family members from the hotpot cluster worked in two of its branches, which would be closed for disinfecting.
Haidilao, China's largest hotpot chain, has already closed all its branches in China, where the virus outbreak has killed more than 1,100 people.
It said it would not close its Hong Kong branches but would start checking the temperatures of patrons.
Mr Sam Wong, who owns 66 Hotpot, a family-run restaurant in the bustling district of Mongkok, said some 20 customers have cancelled bookings since the news of the family cluster emerged. - AFP