CHP participates in WHO's IHR Exercise Crystal 2022 to enhance public health emergency preparedness and response (with photo)

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health, together with the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, today (December 13) participated in the annual International Health Regulations (IHR) Exercise Crystal organised by the World Health Organization (WHO)'s Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WPRO) to enhance public health emergency preparedness and response systems.

     Being held annually by the WPRO, IHR Exercise Crystal is a functional exercise conducted virtually through video conferencing and other communication tools to test the communication of IHR focal points in terms of public health event reporting, verification, notification, information sharing and risk assessment, etc. The CHP, as an IHR focal point, has been participating in the exercise for years.

     The simulated scenario of the IHR Exercise Crystal 2022 involved the emergence of a novel zoonotic virus with pandemic potential. Today's exercise consisted of two parts. The first part was a table-top exercise during which a number of detailed communications were sent from the WHO providing information on the evolving scenario and triggering tasks for completion by the participants. Representatives from the CHP, the AFCD and the CFS discussed and co-ordinated the response measures required in the simulated scenario of detection of a novel zoonotic virus with implications to Hong Kong. The second part was a debriefing led by the WPRO with experience sharing by participants including representatives from Hong Kong.

     A spokesman for the CHP said, "This year's exercise gives us an opportunity to test the preparedness of relevant parties in the local setting to respond effectively to a novel zoonotic virus. It also enhanced the effectiveness of our response plans for related communicable diseases and identified room for improvement, enhancing vigilance to better prepare ourselves in case of public health emergency."

     "We will consolidate the experience gained from this exercise and map out targeted and refined strategies in the future," the spokesman added. 

Ends/Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Issued at HKT 18:00