A KFC employee in China working with food preparation and on the counter serving customers has reportedly been diagnosed with coronavirus.
The infected staff member worked at the fried chicken fast-food chain in Xian, Shaanxi province, according to local media reports.
The Office of the Pneumonia Prevention and Control in Yanta District identified the patient as working at the eatery in Xiaozhai Intime shopping centre.
According to China News, the employee worked ‘at the front desk’ at the end of last month and ‘the main work was to prepare meals’.
KFC is among a series of US franchises in China that have temporarily closed restaurants over fears of the spread of coronavirus that has killed more than 800 people.
Currently over 37,000 cases of the deadly infection have been confirmed worldwide that has struck in 25 countries.
Yum China which operates Pizza Hut and Taco Bell as well as KFC, announced the shutting of its 9,200 outlets after the disease gripped China.
The company, which operates in more than 1,300 cities in China, said its profits this year would be severely hit by the outbreak.
KFC said it could not say exactly when the restaurants would reopen and that more stores could close.
Last week the company based in Shanghai launched what it calls ‘contactless’ delivery to avoid spreading the virus through food delivery.
Videos on the Chinese social media site, Weibo, showed delivery drivers having their temperature taken before donning Hazmat suits and face masks before disinfecting all food packaging and leaving the restaurant.
Some meal deliveries come with notes detailing the temperature readings of the workers who prepared and delivered the food, local media reports.
Joey Wat, Yum China’s chief executive, said in a statement: ‘Our top priority is the health and safety of our employees and customers.
‘We have implemented various preventive measures across our restaurants and other workplaces to help protect our employees and customers.
‘We will continue to monitor this fluid situation and respond accordingly.’
The company said in a statement discussing 2019 financial results: ‘As a result of the outbreak, the company may experience operating losses for the first quarter of 2020.’
China’s finance ministry said today that all levels of government had allocated a total of $10.26 billion) to fight coronavirus.
The ministry will deploy the funds to ensure that members of public can afford diagnosis and treatment, it said in a statement.