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Norovirus outbreak confirmed at resort
2019-02-12 
Eight tourists have tested positive for norovirus, a common cause of acute gastrointestinal illness, at the Club Med Yabuli ski resort in Heilongjiang province, Harbin's Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Monday.

On Feb 4, Chinese New Year's Eve, some tourists at Club Med Yabuli began to exhibit suspected food poisoning symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, stomachache and low fever.

Photo taken on December 7, 2015 shows the Yabuli ski resort in Harbin, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province. [Photo: IC]

Photo taken on December 7, 2015 shows the Yabuli ski resort in Harbin, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province. [Photo: IC]

Some tourists staying at the resort said more than 150 tourists had fallen ill by Sunday.

Club Med, a global resort brand, was acquired by Fosun Tourism Group in 2015 and is the company's major income earner.

Soon after receiving reports of the food poisoning symptoms, an investigation team organized by Harbin's Center for Disease Control and Prevention arrived at the club and registered the information of 42 tourists who said they felt uncomfortable.

Eight accepted treatment in nearby hospitals, but none were asked to stay in hospital, the center said.

"I spent 25,400 yuan ($3,600) on a five-day trip for my husband, my son and me in the club, including dining, accommodation and skiing," a 37-year-old tourist surnamed Liu from Shanghai said. "I am a loyal customer of Club Med and have had wonderful experiences in the past, so even though I felt it a little expensive, I chose it without hesitation.

"In the afternoon on Saturday, I felt uncomfortable and began to have diarrhea and vomiting. I thought I was unaccustomed to the climate of a new place and decided to take out some porridge from the club's cafeteria for supper.

"However, I found several tourists doing the same thing as me when I arrived at the cafeteria. After a short chat, we found we were suffering from the same condition."

Liu's husband and two other tourists began to inquire room by room, finding members of more than 20 families had the same symptoms.

"We suspected it was a food poisoning incident and asked the club to deal with the case as soon as possible," Liu said. "Till I left the club on Sunday morning, the club gave me no explanation and solution for the case."

Another female tourist, surnamed Wang, said some children vomited in the public area, but the cleaners only cleaned it up in a cursory manner, without using any disinfectant.

On Monday, instant noodles were provided to tourists at the club as supper.

And the resort has suspended the reception of new guests.

"We have started the investigation of water and food to try to find out the cause of the virus as soon as possible," Club Med said on Monday afternoon. "At the same time, strict prevention measures, including thorough disinfection, have been underway."

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