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Government issues Amber Outbound Travel Alert on Singapore
     In view of the health risks arising from the outbreak of local Zika Virus Infection cases in Singapore, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today (September 2) issued an Amber Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) on Singapore to remind the public to monitor the situation of the Zika virus outbreak in Singapore and exercise caution.
     A spokesman for the Government said, "The Department of Health (DH) has been closely monitoring the outbreaks of Zika virus. The department provides travel health advice to Hong Kong people visiting the relevant regions with reference to the latest Zika virus update of the World Health Organization (WHO).
     "In view of the persistent and rapid increase in the number of local Zika Virus Infection cases in Singapore and the close contacts between Hong Kong and Singapore, we consider that it is necessary to alert the public planning to travel to Singapore to be highly vigilant and pay close attention to the latest situation of Zika Virus Infection and the corresponding travel health advice issued by the DH. Based on public health considerations, the Government has decided to issue an Amber OTA on Singapore."
     The spokesman pointed out that the DH has earlier advised that pregnant women and women preparing for pregnancy should not travel to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission, including Singapore. All travellers, including pregnant women, should use mosquito repellent containing DEET during travel and after returning from these areas for a period of at least 21 days. Pregnant women are advised to attend antenatal follow-up regularly and tell the attending doctor history of recent travel, observe for symptoms of Zika Virus Infection, and seek medical advice as soon as possible if feeling unwell. They should not have sex with a partner who has travelled to affected areas, or else condoms should be used throughout the pregnancy. The content of the Amber OTA is consistent with the travel health advice issued by the DH on Zika virus.
     The spokesman reiterated that Hong Kong's current prevention and control strategy against Zika, including the content of travel health advice, is in line with the recommendations of the WHO and overseas health authorities including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States.
     "At present, Zika Virus Infection outbreaks have been recorded in Africa, America, Asia and Pacific regions. The Government will continue to closely monitor the situation of Singapore and other ongoing Zika virus transmission regions. With reference to the latest Zika virus update of the WHO, the Government will announce the latest local situation of the affected areas through the media, the DH's webpage (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/43086.html) and the Security Bureau's OTA webpage (www.sb.gov.hk/eng/ota). If necessary, the appropriate travel health advice or OTA will be issued on the relevant regions in a timely manner," the spokesman said.
     The public may visit the following dedicated webpages for more disease information and health advice: the Zika page of the CHP and the DH's Travel Health Service, the Outbound Travel Alert page of the Security Bureau, anti-mosquito precautions for women, and the WHO Zika virus situation reports.
     In addition, Hong Kong residents are encouraged to use the online Registration of Outbound Travel Information service (www.gov.hk/roti) to register their contact details and itinerary before travelling outside Hong Kong. The information provided allows the DH and the Hong Kong Immigration Department to provide them with useful information through appropriate channels, including by using SMS, if necessary.
Ends/Friday, September 2, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:48
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