CE meets with representative of Health Commission of Guangdong Province and delegation of Mainland epidemiological experts (with photo)
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     ‚ÄčThe Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, today (February 27) met with the Deputy Director General of the Health Commission of Guangdong Province, Mr Zhang Yurun, and several epidemiological experts from Guangdong Province to listen to their views and suggestions following their inspection of the various aspects of the anti-epidemic work of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) over the past days, to help the HKSAR combat the fifth wave of the epidemic. Also present at the meeting were the Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan; the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Erick Tsang Kwok-wai; the Director of Health, Dr Ronald Lam; and the Chief Executive of the Hospital Authority, Dr Tony Ko.

     Mrs Lam started the two-hour meeting by expressing gratitude to the Central Authorities for their support to the HKSAR and the staunch co-operation of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee and the Guangdong Provincial Government for their early arrangement of the epidemiological experts to come to Hong Kong on February 17 to start dialogue with the health officials and experts of the city. She was grateful for their hard work and strong commitment as well as their extension of stay in Hong Kong.

     She learnt that, during their stay in Hong Kong, in addition to meeting with the representatives of the Food and Health Bureau, the Department of Health, the Hospital Authority, etc, as well as giving guidance and assistance to the HKSAR on surveillance of infectious diseases and information analyses, members of the expert delegation had inspected the work of the Contact Tracing Office of the HKSAR Government and conducted visits to a mock sewage surveillance station on-site and a university laboratory. Mrs Lam was grateful for the constructive advice given by them during the process, including the piece of advice about the online platform, Communicable Disease Public Interface, being implemented gradually for patients to report their information. Those members of the public who had received notification of positive or preliminarily positive test results could submit thereto the relevant epidemiological information as well as the information about their household family members, such that the HKSAR Government could arrange for admission of patients to different isolation facilities as soon as possible or assist them in adopting better protective measures while waiting at home. Over ten thousand citizens had used this platform to report information.

     At the meeting, Mrs Lam and the participating officials discussed with Mr Zhang and members of the expert delegation the recent adjustments to the HKSAR Government's testing-related measures having regard to the risk assessment and optimum use of testing resources. These included wider adoption of rapid antigen tests, persistent conduct of "restriction-testing declaration" operations on targeted buildings with higher risk and so forth. A multi-pronged approach could thus be adopted to ascertain the infection situation of the community and individuals, enabling them to be more vigilant so as to minimise the risk of the spread of the virus. Both parties agreed that it was necessary at present to strengthen the multi-tiered approach to providing treatment based on patients' conditions to reduce severe and death cases such that medical resources could be more effectively allocated to imminent cases.

     In view of the consistent rise in the number of death cases amid the current wave of the epidemic, the officials of the HKSAR Government explained that while Hong Kong had an ageing population with the highest life expectancy from across the globe, many elderly people were chronically frail and ill and being taken care of in residential care homes, at which the vaccination rate had been very low before. The Mainland experts suggested that the HKSAR Government explain more clearly the clinical situation of the death cases to the public and boost vaccination among the elderly.

     Mrs Lam said, "The rich experience of the Health Commission of Guangdong Province and the members of the Mainland epidemiological expert delegation in combatting the COVID-19 in the Mainland helps us examine fully our existing anti-epidemic strategies and measures so as to adjust them having regard to Hong Kong's actual circumstances in pursuit of the goal of 'dynamic zero infection'. We will continue to leverage the staunch support of the Central Authorities to stabilise the epidemic as soon as possible for safeguarding the lives and safety of the public at large."

Ends/Sunday, February 27, 2022
Issued at HKT 23:06

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