The fear of a pandemic spreading to a nation is critical to its economy. Hong Kong has been a victim of past viruses.

"Historically, Hong Kong has been center stage for recent infections that threatened to spiral across the world, such as SARS and Avian Influenza, which first struck and killed people there in 1997.

Southern China — with the close proximity of its rural agriculture to population centers and globally connected transportation — has been an ideal conduit for past animal diseases that spread to humans and then to the rest of the world.

In the early days of SARS, cooperation was lax between Hong Kong health officials and public officials across the border in mainland China, where the live animal wet markets in Guangdong province is suspected in the virus' jump to humans.

According to the World Health Organization, a public health emergency is an occurrence or imminent threat of illness or health conditions caused by bio terrorism, epidemic or pandemic disease, or highly fatal infectious agents or toxins that pose serious risk to a significant number of people.

A virus spread can lead to economical challenges as local health resources become depleted. A viral outbreak could also hurt Hong Kong's dominance as a regional financial and transportation hub."