2009年9月21日星期一

Hong Kong swine flu precautions: chief executive

"Hong Kong swine flu precautions: chief executive | AboutHK.Com - More Information About HK"

AFP

Hong Kong swine flu precautions: chief executiveHong Kong's chief executive said Monday authorities would take no chance in dealing with swine flu despite accusations of over-reacting since its first confirmed case was reported in May.

"We have taken every precaution to prevent the spread of the virus," the city's chief executive, Donald Tsang, said at the opening ceremony of the World Health Organization's annual Western Pacific meeting here.

"In some cases we have even been accused of over-reacting," he said, adding: "Following our relatively recent experiences with Avian Influenza and SARS, the government has not, and will not take any chances."

The 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) killed almost 300 people in the city.

Hong Kong was also the scene of the world's first reported major H5N1 bird flu outbreak among humans, in 1997, when six people died.

The city's hygiene campaign was ramped up when swine flu reached Asia, most notably when an entire hotel was locked down for a week in May with hundreds of guests inside after a Mexican guest was found to be infected with the virus.

In the few weeks following the hotel closure, Hong Kong saw a frenetic scramble for face masks at pharmacies and supermarkets.

The city's inhabitants frequently wear face masks in public and the government has run an extensive public information campaign on personal hygiene.

The government was criticised for over-reacting at the time.

With schools re-opening after the summer holidays in recent weeks, the virus has spread among children, forcing some schools to close again temporarily.

However, the authorities' vigilance seems to have paid dividends with only 13 people dying so far of the disease in Hong Kong, out of the total number of 22,054 confirmed cases as of Sunday.

The Department of Health has said the number of fatalities was only 0.07 percent of overall cases -- far lower than the global average of 0.6 percent.

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