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Update on local response to latest MERS situation

     The Controller of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health, Dr Leung Ting-hung, today (June 3) reported the local response in view of the latest situation of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

     "In view of the evolving MERS situation in Korea, we strongly advise the public to avoid unnecessary visits to all health-care facilities (HCFs) in Korea, and avoid participating in medical exchange activities in Korea," Dr Leung said.

     Regarding the CHP's enhanced surveillance with public and private hospitals, practising doctors and at boundary control points since June 1, with immediate effect, inbound travellers with fever or respiratory symptoms who recently visited any HCFs in Korea will be classified as suspected MERS cases and taken to public hospitals for isolation and management until their specimens test negative for MERS Coronavirus. This is in line with the surveillance all along on suspected cases with travel history in the Middle East.

     "We have issued letters to doctors and hospitals on the revised reporting criteria and will closely monitor the situation and review the reporting criteria as appropriate," Dr Leung said.

     As for the first MERS case exported from Korea to Mainland China, as of 3pm today, the numbers of close contacts and other contacts of the patient remained at 29 and 32 respectively. The 19 asymptomatic close contacts in Hong Kong are under quarantine at the quarantine centre in Lady MacLehose Holiday Village while the 32 other contacts are under medical surveillance. The CHP's epidemiological investigations and contact tracing are ongoing.

     The CHP again strongly appealed to passengers onboard OZ 723 of Asiana Airlines who travelled from Korea and arrived in Hong Kong at around 1pm on May 26, and those onboard the three vehicles operated by Eternal East Cross-Border Coach Mgt Ltd on the same day, to call the hotline (2125 1111) for further assessment or follow-up. It operates from 9am to 6pm.

     The CHP will maintain close communication with the World Health Organization and the health authority of Korea. Members of the public and the health-care sector should heighten vigilance and stay alert to the latest situation.

Ends/Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:53


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