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Serious Response Level activated in public hospitals

The following is issued on behalf of the Hospital Authority:

     The Hospital Authority (HA) spokesman today (December 3) announced the activation of the Serious Response Level in public hospitals to tie in with the Government's raising of the response level of the Preparedness Plan for Influenza Pandemic from "Alert" to "Serious". The HA Central Committee on Infectious Diseases & Emergency Response held a special meeting this morning to discuss and review thoroughly the contingency measures under the Serious Response Level in public hospitals.

     The HA spokesman said front-line hospital staff at Accident and Emergency Departments and general outpatient clinics are reminded to stay vigilant to patients seeking consultation at public hospitals. Enhanced surveillance and patient triage guidelines are in place to ensure timely reporting and early arrangement of clinical tests.

     "Under the Serious Response Level, more stringent infection control measures, which include visiting arrangements, are enforced in public hospitals. The visiting arrangements include not allowing 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.

     Furthermore, volunteer services and clinical attachment in public hospitals have been suspended under the Serious Response Level. In regard to personal protection equipment, such as surgical masks and N95 masks, the current stockpile is adequate for three months' consumption. The HA will also maintain close liaison with the suppliers to ensure a sustainable supply. The isolation beds in the seven hospital clusters will be deployed when needed.

     According to the spokesman, the HA will continue to closely collaborate with the Centre for Health Protection in monitoring the latest situation and keep the general public as well as health-care workers updated on developments on a regular basis.

Ends/Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Issued at HKT 19:46


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