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Opening remarks by Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food


Following is the opening remarks (English only) by the Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food, Dr Yeoh Eng-kiong, at the cocktail reception held in honour of Dr David Heymann, Executive Director of Communicable Diseases of the World Health Organisation today (June 15):

Dr Heymann, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

We are very honoured to be able to host this reception for Dr David Heymann, who is the Executive Director Communicable Diseases of the World Health Organisation. I am sure that you are all familiar with Dr Heymann through his excellent work in coordinating the global fight against SARS, although his portfolio, in fact, covers much more and includes the surveillance and control of all old and new emerging communicable diseases. So he is a very important person in the context of global health.

Just three months ago Hong Kong first came face to face with a new disease, SARS, of which we had little or no knowledge. Hong Kong took a heavy blow not only to the health sector but to everyone in the community and had a great impact on our social life, on our own personal life and on our economy. However, our community has risen to the challenge and everyone in the community has united to fight this global challenge. I must thank of course everyone in the community, each one of you here today and everyone, and all the members of the community who are not here today for all their contributions. And also to thank the World Health Organisation for their valuable advice and assistance in bringing the disease under control globally and for their particular assistance to Hong Kong.

It is timely for us to meet this afternoon to take a short break after these hectic months, and see what we can learn from this all-out combat against the global epidemic. And I am sure that all of you agree that our Guest of Honour, Dr Heymann, would really be the best person to provide some insights into the SARS problem because he has helped steer international efforts to combat this disease. So may I invite all of you to welcome Dr Heymann to give us a very short address.

End/Sunday, June 15, 2003


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