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"Exercise Coral" tests Government's response to outbreaks of dengue fever (with photos/video)

     The Government tested its preparedness for the possible community outbreak of dengue fever (DF) today (March 3) during an exercise code-named "Exercise Coral", organised by the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) in collaboration with other government departments and organisations.

     Under the simulation exercise, Hong Kong encountered local confirmed cases during the peak season of DF. The scenario centred on the identification of a Lantau resident as being the first local confirmed DF case since 2010. Three additional suspected DF cases were identified in the vicinity through active case finding. Response measures including vector investigation and control as well as surveillance of suspected cases were carried out immediately.

     In view of the risk assessment on the health impact of DF to Hong Kong, senior representatives from various government departments took part in a simulation exercise that featured an Inter-departmental Co-ordinating Committee (ICC) on Dengue Fever meeting chaired by the Controller of the CHP. During the meeting, relevant departments and organisations were invited for a discussion to review the existing anti-mosquito work and agreed on co-ordinated strategies to control and contain the disease. Subsequent to two out of three suspected cases being confirmed upon laboratory testing, relevant departments carried out a joint operation on mosquito control within 500 metres of the residence of the cases.

     The exercise consisted of two parts. The first part was a table-top exercise conducted on November 21, 2013, in which relevant departments and organisations discussed and commanded response measures in a simulated ICC meeting.

     The second part conducted today was a ground exercise stimulating field investigation and field intervention measures on mosquito control, and health educational activities for the community involved.

     "The exercise has tested the Government's response measures for the control of DF. It has also focused on the preparedness and response actions of relevant government departments and organisations," a spokesman for the DH remarked.

     In addition, the exercise served to formulate and oversee the implementation of a co-ordinated and timely response and disease control strategy, and decide on measures to be taken that would have a wider impact on the community. A total of 90 representatives from 23 bureaux and departments/organisations participated in the exercise. Sixteen experts from public health and related organisations from the Mainland and Macau were also invited to participate as observers.

     "The exercise provided a valuable opportunity for relevant parties of the public sector to test their preparedness and identify areas for improvement. The Government is committed to maintaining preparedness against any possible outbreak of DF," the spokesman said.

Ends/Monday, March 3, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:19


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