[editing is mine]
Published on: 2013-02-21
Representatives from the Department of Health (DH) and the
Hospital Authority (HA) met today (February 21) to discuss the updated
global situation of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel
Coronavirus and will work together in enhancing the surveillance and
control measures for the disease. This is the fourth special meeting
held between the DH and the HA on the issue.
surveillance measures currently in place include statutorily
notification of Severe Respiratory Disease associated with Novel
Coronovirus and enhanced laboratory testing for novel coronavirus in
severe respiratory cases with pneumonia with unknown causes, after
ruling out common causative agents.
During the meeting,
representatives from the DH and the HA agreed to further enhance the
laboratory surveillance for novel coronavirus. For cases of pneumonia
with unknown cause, pneumonia cases that require intensive care,
clusters of pneumonia or health-care workers with pneumonia, routine
testing for novel coronavirus will be carried out irrespective of travel
history. These enhanced measures will be carried out starting from
tomorrow (February 22).
Speaking at a media session after
the meeting, the Controller of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of
the DH, Dr Leung Ting-hung, expressed concern on the latest development
of the disease in the UK.
"The mortality of this disease
is very high and several instances of human-to-human transmission are
likely to have occurred in the Middle East and the UK. However, no
sustained transmission or expanding clusters of infection have been
identified in any country since the earliest cases traced back to April
2012," Dr Leung said.
"Doctors are advised to be vigilant
and report any suspected cases to the CHP. Health-care workers should
exercise appropriate infection control measures at all times. As with
the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) experience, the public
should pay particular attention to personal and environmental hygiene
and avoid direct contact with animals, birds or poultry," he said,
adding that the virus may remain viable in the environment for some time
and can be inactivated by 1:99 household bleach.
also advised travellers returning from novel coronavirus-affected
countries with respiratory symptoms to wear facial masks and seek
medical attention and reveal their travel histories to doctors. The CHP
will closely monitor the situation and update the surveillance criteria
and testing strategies accordingly.
Also speaking at the
media session, the Chief Infection Control Officer of the Hospital
Authority, Dr Dominic Tsang, added that public hospitals will continue
to closely monitor, promptly isolate and perform rapid diagnostic
testing of patients based on defined criteria and risk factors
"Such cases will also be notified to the CHP
through existing channels. Health-care workers will be updated once
again on the current situation and reminded to adhere to proper
infection control measures. Treatment guidelines will be provided to
front-line doctors in guiding patient clinical management," Dr Tsang
Ends/Thursday, February 21, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:40http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201302/21/P201302210521.htm