Post sponsored by NewzEngine.com

Source: Hong Kong Information Services

The Centre for Health Protection will launch additional precautionary measures to enhance surveillance of suspected cases of novel coronavirus infection in view of the latest situation and risk assessment.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference this afternoon, Secretary for Food & Health Sophia Chan said the Government arranged urgent meetings on the issue this morning.

“Given the latest development from Wuhan and also from other places in China, as well as confirmed cases reported in Japan, Thailand and also in Korea, I think Hong Kong has to be well prepared and we have been well prepared since day one.

“This morning we had some urgent meetings to discuss what further information we are going to give to the public as well as what additional measures we are going to take in dealing with the entire situation.”

Prof Chan explained that Chief Executive Carrie Lam also participated in the meeting.

“The Chief Executive is also very concerned about the situation. So she joined our meeting to receive reports and the latest risk assessments from the Department of Health and from the Hospital Authority, and we discussed all the issues this morning. 

“We also listened to our experts’ assessment and they have confirmed that the direction of our prevention and precautionary measures right now are in the right direction.”

Reporting criteria of severe respiratory disease associated with a novel infectious agent will be revised, she added.

Medical practitioners are requested to make a report to the centre if they encounter any individual with fever and acute respiratory illness or pneumonia.

Such reporting also includes anyone who, within 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms, visited Hubei Province, visited a medical hospital in the Mainland, or had close contact with a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus while that patient was symptomatic.

The centre will issue letters to doctors and private hospitals to inform them of the revised reporting criteria.

Meanwhile, starting from midnight tomorrow, the Department of Health will require travellers flying into Hong Kong from Wuhan to fill out a health declaration form.

Director of Health Dr Constance Chan said: “In view of the increased number of cases reported lately, including cases reported in other parts of the world which, after investigation by those health authorities, all point to a travel history from Wuhan city.

“So we have further stepped up efforts by introducing the health declaration form as an additional measure.”

According to the National Health Commission (NHC), from January 18 to 10pm January 19, a total of 136 more cases of novel coronavirus infection were recorded in Wuhan.

The additional cases involve 66 males and 70 females who developed symptoms before January 18. Among them, 100 are in stable condition, 33 are in serious condition, two are in critical condition and one patient died.

As of 10pm yesterday, the total number of novel coronavirus infections in Wuhan was 198. Among them, 25 were discharged, 35 are in a serious condition, nine are in critical condition and three died, while the remaining patients are in a stable condition.

A total of 817 close contacts have been identified. All have been put under medical surveillance with 727 of them having completed the surveillance. No related cases have been detected so far.

Separately, according to the NHC, a medical institution in Beijing yesterday received two patients who had been to Wuhan. Both were confirmed pneumonia cases of the novel coronavirus infection. 

The Guangdong Health Commission also reported that its first imported pneumonia case of the novel coronavirus infection was confirmed yesterday. 

In addition, the centre has been closely monitoring the first confirmed case of infection of the novel coronavirus in Korea.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News