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HK public hospitals activate MERS Serious Response Level

2015-June-9       Source: Xinhuanet.com

Hong Kong's Hospital Authority (HA) spokesman Monday announced the activation of the Serious Response Level in public hospitals after the government raised the response level from "Alert" to "Serious" in view of the latest situation of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea.

Tourists are seen wearing face masks in Soul, capital of South Korea, June 5, 2015. Public distrust deepened in South Korea over the government's response to the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) as the government belatedly broadened countermeasures after a surge in the viral disease spread. (Xinhua/Yao Qilin)

Hong Kong's Hospital Authority (HA) spokesman Monday announced the activation of the Serious Response Level in public hospitals after the government raised the response level from "Alert" to "Serious" in view of the latest situation of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea.

Following an-ad hoc meeting of the HA Central Committee on Infectious Disease and Emergency Responses on MERS this afternoon, a series of measures to enhance monitoring and infection control in public hospitals and clinics will be implemented from June 9.

The HA spokesman said front-line hospital staff at accident and emergency departments and general outpatient clinics are reminded to stay vigilant in regard to patients arriving from South Korea.

Enhanced surveillance and patient triage guidelines will be in place to ensure timely reporting and early arrangement of clinical tests.

"Under the Serious Response Level, more stringent infection control measures are enforced in public hospitals including visiting arrangements. There is no visiting at isolation wards unless on compassionate grounds. For general acute wards, visiting hours would be no more than two hours per day with no more than two visitors per visit. For convalescent and infirmary wards, visiting hours would be no more than four hours per day with no more than two visitors per visit."

The spokesman also reminded the public that visitors to public hospitals and clinics are now required to put on surgical masks and perform hand hygiene before and after visiting patient areas.

The HA will further review the policy on volunteer service and clinical attachment. On personal protection equipment, such as surgical masks and N95 masks, the current stockpile is adequate for three months of consumption. The HA will also maintain a close liaison with suppliers to ensure a sustainable supply. The isolation beds in the seven hospital clusters will be deployed when needed.

Editor: Chan

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