The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (January 5) received notification from the National Health Commission (NHC) on the latest information of the cluster of pneumonia cases detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province. The public is again urged to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.
According to the risk assessment of the World Health Organization, the reported link of this cluster of pneumonia of unknown aetiology to a wholesale fish and live animal market could indicate an exposure link to animals.
A dedicated webpage (www.chp.gov.hk/en/features/102465.html) has also been set up to provide relevant information and health advice. To address the public’s concern, the CHP will announce the details of cases reported under enhanced surveillance (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/enhanced_sur_pneumonia_wuhan_eng.pdf) on the above webpage daily to enhance transparency.
To prevent pneumonia and respiratory tract infection, members of the public should maintain good personal and environmental hygiene. They are advised to:
- Perform hand hygiene frequently, especially before touching the mouth, nose or eyes; after touching public installations such as handrails or door knobs; or when hands are contaminated by respiratory secretion after coughing or sneezing;
- Wash hands with liquid soap and water, and rub for at least 20 seconds. Then rinse with water and dry with a disposable paper towel or hand dryer. If hand washing facilities are not available, or when hands are not visibly soiled, hand hygiene with 70 to 80 per cent alcohol-based hand rub is an effective alternative;
- Cover your mouth and nose with tissue paper when sneezing or coughing. Dispose of soiled tissues into a lidded rubbish bin, then wash hands thoroughly; and
- When having respiratory symptoms, wear a surgical mask, refrain from work or attending class at school, avoid going to crowded places and seek medical advice promptly.
The public should take heed of the health advice below when travelling outside Hong Kong:
- avoid touching animals (including game), poultry/birds or their droppings;
- avoid visiting wet markets, live poultry markets or farms;
- avoid making close contact with patients, especially those with symptoms of acute respiratory infections;
- never consume game meat and patronise food premises where game meat is served;
- adhere to food safety and hygiene rules such as avoiding consuming raw or undercooked animal products, including milk, eggs and meat, or foods which may be contaminated by animal secretions, excretions (such as urine) or contaminated products, unless they have been properly cooked, washed or peeled;
- if feeling unwell when outside Hong Kong, especially if having a fever or cough, wear a surgical mask, inform the hotel staff or tour escort and seek medical advice at once; and
- after returning to Hong Kong, consult a doctor promptly if having a fever or other symptoms, inform the doctor of recent travel history and wear a surgical mask to help prevent spread of the disease.
There are some preventive measures suggested by HK CHP to students and parents.
A. Stay Alert
(a) Remind students/staff that they should avoid travel to the affected areas. Good personal and environmental hygiene should be maintained. Avoid touching birds, poultry or their droppings and visiting wet markets, live poultry markets or farms when travelling to affected areas. For the update on AI affected areas, please visit Centre for Health Protection website https://www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/global_statistics_avian_influenza_e.pdf
(b) Instruct students/staff who had travelled to those affected areas in the past 10 days; they should notify school and observe closely their health condition. Within the 10 days of returning from those affected areas, they should measure their body temperature every day before going to school. If feeling unwell, they should seek medical consultation promptly and should not go to school.
(c) Students/staff returning from affected areas with AI outbreaks should consult doctors promptly if they have flu-like symptoms, and inform the doctor of the travel history and wear a surgical mask to help prevent spread of the disease.
B. Maintain Good Personal Hygiene
(a) Perform hand hygiene properly before touching your eyes, nose or mouth; before eating; after using the toilet; and touching public installations or equipment such as escalator handrails, elevator control panels or door knobs.
(b) Wash hands with liquid soap and water properly whenever possibly contaminated.
(c) When hands are not visibly soiled, clean hands by rubbing them with 70-80% alcohol-based hand rub as an effective alternative.
(d) If you have been in contact with birds or poultry (live or dead), immediately wash your hands thoroughly with liquid soap and water.
(e) Cover nose and mouth with tissue paper when sneezing or coughing. Dispose soiled tissue paper properly into a lidded rubbish bin and wash hands with liquid soap and water afterwards.
(f) Students/staff should wear a surgical mask if develop respiratory symptoms and consult their doctor promptly. They should take rest at home and refrain from going to school if having fever.
(g) Do not share personal items such as eating utensils and towels.
KGV will follow the CHP guideline to maintain good hygienic standard of the school premises through thorough cleansing and disinfection daily. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, furniture, toys and commonly shared items daily by using appropriate disinfectant.
Parents please keep your child home if he/she present with any respiratory symptoms and fever. Take your child for a doctor consultation. Report to KGV for any confirmed respiratory tract infection with doctor note.
Ends/Sunday, 5 January, 2020
Issued at HKT 23:37