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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 (June 8) announced the activation of the Serious Response Level in public hospitals to tie in with the Government raising the response level from "Alert" to "Serious" in view of the latest situation of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Korea.

     Following an ad hoc meeting of the HA Central Committee on Infectious Disease and Emergency Responses on MERS this afternoon, a series of measures to enhance monitoring and infection control in public hospitals and clinics will be implemented tomorrow (June 9).

     The HA spokesman said front-line hospital staff at Accident and Emergency Departments and general outpatient clinics are reminded to stay vigilant in regard to patients arriving from Korea.

     Enhanced surveillance and patient triage guidelines will be in place to ensure timely reporting and early arrangement of clinical tests.

     "Under the Serious Response Level, more stringent infection control measures are enforced in public hospitals including visiting arrangements. There is no 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.

     The HA will further review the policy on volunteer service and clinical attachment. On personal protection equipment, such as surgical masks and N95 masks, the current stockpile is adequate for three months of consumption. The HA will also maintain a close liaison with suppliers to ensure a sustainable supply. The isolation beds in the seven hospital clusters will be deployed when needed.

     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/Monday, June 8, 2015
Issued at HKT 20:01


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