Not wishing to get caught up into the same kind of public health (and public relations) debacle as have the Koreans over the nosocomial spread of MERS, Hong Kong has quickly implemented several new infection control policies designed to limit the risks of infection to hospital staff, patients, and visitors.
Perhaps the most striking of these is the requirement for all visitors to Emergency Rooms and out-patient clinics to wear surgical masks.
Those with respiratory symptoms are handled differently depending upon their recent travel history, but all are quickly segregated pending triage.
The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:
In view of the latest situation of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Hong Kong, the Hospital Authority (HA) Chairman Professor John Leong and Chief Executive Dr Leung Pak-yin this afternoon (June 1) jointly convened a meeting of HA's Central Command Committee to discuss and review thoroughly the infection control and contingency measures of public hospitals to guard against MERS.
The Central Command Committee conducted an in-depth review of the latest infection control and contingency measures of public hospitals. According to expert analyses and opinions, the risk assessment on MERS has been elevating. The Committee has decided to step up the infection control measures in public hospitals from tomorrow (June 2). These include:
1. Visitors to Accident and Emergency Departments (AED) and out-patient clinics are required to put on surgical masks.
2. Patients who have fever and respiratory symptoms, and with history of travel to affected areas (including healthcare facilities in Seoul, South Korea) in the past 2-14 days will be arranged for viral test and immediate isolation for treatment.
3. Patients who have fever and respiratory symptoms but without travel history are required to wear a surgical mask and stay in the "Influenza-like Illness Segregation Area" in the AED while waiting for consultation.
The HA spokesman said, the HA would continue to closely collaborate with the Centre for Health Protection in monitoring the latest situation and keep the general public as well as healthcare workers updated on developments on a regular basis.
Ends/Monday, June 1, 2015
Issued at HKT 22:36