A KFC staff member involved in food preparation has been diagnosed with the deadly Wuhan coronavirus 2019-nCoV., according to a report in a Chinese newspaper.
The person affected works in a KFC restaurant in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, reports the Global Times.
There are now 37,580 confirmed cases of the infection worldwide, and 813 people have died, according to official figures.
Yum China Holdings, the Shanghai-based company which owns the franchises for KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell on the Chinese mainland, has announced that it is temporarily closing around a third of its 9,200 outlets because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The company, which runs sites in more than 1,300 cities in China, said its 2020 sales and profit would be severely hit by the outbreak.
KFC said it could not predict exactly when the restaurants would reopen.
A press release quoted Joey Wat, Yum China’s chief executive, as saying: “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.”
Mr Wat added that more store closures could be on the cards: “We will continue to monitor this fluid situation and respond accordingly,” he said.
The company said it might have to close even more stores or reduce opening hours as the situation evolves. “We will continue to monitor this fluid situation and respond accordingly,” Wat said.
Yum China is not the only Chinese corporation suffering a major financial hit from the city-wide lockdowns in force to limit the spread of coronavirus. Capri Holdings, a Chinese fashion conglomerate that owns the rights to global brands such as Versace, Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors announced overnight that it would also be shutting a number of stores.
The company has closed 150 of its 225 shops in mainland China, and those that did remain open would be opening for shorter hours.