Category Archives: China

China | Hong Kong lowers response level for MERS to ‘Alert’ – cancels travel restriction to Korea

The Government today (August 1) decided to lower the response level of the Preparedness Plan for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) from “Serious” to “Alert” based on the latest risk assessment of the MERS situation in Korea. The Department of Health (DH) has also lifted the travel health advice to avoid unnecessary travel to Korea.

The response level was raised to “Serious” and the travel health advice was issued to Hong Kong residents on June 8 due to the widespread outbreaks of MERS in healthcare institutions in Korea and the imminent risk posed to Hong Kong at that time.

“The number of new cases occurring in Korea each day has declined significantly since late June. The last confirmed case was isolated in hospital on July 3. The decline has coincided with much stronger contact tracing, monitoring and quarantine, suggesting that disease control measures in Korea are working. According to the World Health Organization, the epidemiological pattern of the outbreak in Korea was similar to hospital-associated outbreaks that have occurred in the Middle East and there is no evidence of sustained community transmission of MERS-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Korea,” a spokesman for the DH said.

According to the current practice, the transmission of MERS-CoV in healthcare institutions in Korea is considered to have ceased as there has been no new case detected within two maximum incubation periods (i.e. 28 days in total) after isolation of the last case on July 3.

“Since the activation of the Serious Response Level on June 8, as of noon yesterday (July 31), 403 suspected MERS cases had been reported to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the DH under the enhanced surveillance, and all of them tested negative for MERS-CoV. The surveillance system of local public and private hospitals has not detected any MERS cases so far. We will continue to closely monitor the global MERS situation,” the spokesman added.

“Locally, doctors should however pay attention to patients who travelled to Korea on or before July 31 who develop compatible symptoms within 14 days as they still meet the reporting criteria and are required to be promptly notified to the CHP. We will issue letters to doctors and hospitals on the updated affected areas and reporting criteria,” the spokesman said.

South #Korea | 12 additional cases of #MERS reported bringing total number of cases in #outbreak to 138

12 additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) were reported by South Korea.

According to the preliminary information of health authorities, the cases are:

* Two patients of the emergency department of Samsung Medical Center;
* A patient of Konyang University Hospital;
* Three patients of Dae-Cheong Hospital;
* An ambulance officer who was involved in the transportation of a confirmed case; and
* Five cases which are under investigation.

To date, 137 MERS cases have been confirmed by South Korea with  another case exported to Mainland China.

Following is the transcript of remarks made by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, after attending a radio programme today (June 13):

Reporter: Can you briefly explain the significance of the so-called fourth generation transmission of virus? Do you expect the number of suspected cases intercepted in Hong Kong will drop?

Secretary for Food and Health: Firstly, if the transmission in Korea continues, the risk of community outbreak will increase. Secondly, the confirmation of a fourth generation transmission case will further extend the observation period before we are sure that transmission in Korea has ceased. Looking at the number of confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in Korea in the past several days, it appears that the number of cases has levelled off. But of course with the confirmation of any fourth generation case, we need to be cautious and further extend the horizon of observation.

Reporter: Any number of suspected cases of MERS?

Secretary for Food and Health: I hope the number of suspected cases will gradually drop after the issuance of Outbound Travel Alert on Korea. We know that many travel groups to Korea have cancelled. We expect the number of Hong Kong citizens travelling to Korea will drop and hopefully the number of suspected cases requiring isolation and testing will also drop in due course.

 

#China | Nine additional cases of avian influenza #H7N9 reported

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (June 12) received notification of 12 additional human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) with onset of symptoms between April 24 and May 22 from the National Health and Family Planning Commission, and again urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene both locally and during travel.

The patients comprise six men and six women aged from 4 to 77, three of whom (one man and two women) have died. Four cases are from Zhejiang, three are from Jiangsu, three are from Anhui, one is from Fujian and one is from Beijing.

From 2013 to date, 653 human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported by the Mainland health authorities. Regarding the third wave in the Mainland since November 2014, a total of 213 cases have been reported including 72 in Guangdong, 44 in Zhejiang, 41 in Fujian, 21 in Jiangsu, 11 in Anhui, seven in Xinjiang, seven in Shanghai, three in Jiangxi, two in Hunan, two in Shandong, one in Guizhou, one in Hubei and one in Beijing.

South #Korea | Four additional cases of #MERS brings total number of cases in #Korean outbreak to 125

Four additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) were reported by South Korea.

According to health authorities, the four cases are:

* Three patients who had contact with a confirmed case in Samsung Medical Center from May 27 to 29; and
* One patient who had contact with the same confirmed case in Good Morning Hospital on May 27.

In addition, the authority confirmed the sources of infection of the five cases announced yesterday (June 11), they are:

* Two patients who had contact with the same confirmed case in Samsung Medical Center from May 27 to 29;
* Two patients who had contact with the same confirmed case in Good Morning Hospital from May 25 to 27; and
* One patient who had contact with another confirmed case in Bagae Hospital on May 31.

To date, 125 MERS cases have been reported by South Korea. In addition, another case was exported to Mainland China.

South #Korea | 14 additional cases of #MERS reported bringing total number of cases in #outbreak to 121

14 additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) were reported by South Korea today.

According to health authorities, they are:

* Eight patients/visitors of Samsung Medical Center including a 39-year-old pregnant woman;
* One health-care worker of Hallym University Medical Center; and
* Five cases which are under investigation.

To date, 121 MERS cases have been confirmed by South Korea. In addition, another case was exported to Mainland China.

#China | #HongKong – Number of suspected #MERS cases stands at 33

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (June 10) reported the number of suspected cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) under investigation, and again urged the public to pay special attention to safety during travel, taking due consideration of health risks of the places of visit.

From noon yesterday (June 9) to noon today, the CHP was notified of 33 suspected cases, comprising 17 who tested negative for MERS Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) upon preliminary testing by the CHP’s Public Health Laboratory Services Branch and the remaining 16 pending test results. Cases are detailed in the attachment. Regarding the outstanding test results, the CHP will update the public in due course.

In addition, five pending test results yesterday tested negative for MERS-CoV.

“In view of the latest situation in Korea, the public should avoid unnecessary travel to Korea, in particular those with chronic illnesses. Travellers in Korea and the Middle East should avoid unnecessary visits to health-care facilities (HCFs),” a spokesman for the CHP said.

Locally, the DH’s surveillance with public and private hospitals, practising doctors and at boundary control points is firmly in place. Inbound travellers with fever or lower respiratory symptoms who recently visited Korea and the Middle East will be classified as suspected MERS cases and taken to public hospitals for isolation and management until their specimens test negative for MERS-CoV.

“In addition, travellers to the Middle East should avoid going to farms, barns or markets with camels, and avoid contact with sick persons and animals, especially camels, birds or poultry. We strongly advise travel agents organising tours to the Middle East to abstain from arranging camel rides and activities involving direct contact with camels, which are a known risk factor for acquiring MERS. Furthermore, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), among the recently exported cases in which the patients reported performing Umrah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), investigations revealed that they had either visited an HCF or had come into contact with camels or raw camel products while in the KSA. As Ramadan will begin in mid-June, pilgrims preparing to go to the KSA for Umrah should be vigilant against MERS,” the spokesman said.

Travellers to affected areas should maintain vigilance, adopt appropriate health precautions and take heed of personal, food and environmental hygiene. The public may visit the pages below for more information and health advice:

* The CHP’s MERS page (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/26511.html);
* MERS statistics in affected areas (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/distribution_of_mers_cases_en.pdf);
* List of hospitals with confirmed MERS case(s) announced by Korea (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/korean_hospital_list.pdf)
* The MERS page of the DH’s Travel Health Service (www.travelhealth.gov.hk/english/popup/popup.html);
* The CHP Facebook Page (www.fb.com/CentreforHealthProtection);
* The CHP YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/c/ChpGovHkChannel); and
* The WHO’s latest news (www.who.int/csr/don/archive/disease/coronavirus_infections/en).

Tour leaders and tour guides operating overseas tours are advised to refer to the CHP’s health advice on MERS (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/26551.html).

South #Korea | 13 additional cases of #MERS reported bringing total number of cases in #outbreak to 107

13 additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) were reported by South Korea.

According to the health authority of South Korea, the 13 cases are:

* Ten patients/visitors of the emergency department of Samsung Medical Center;
* Two visitors who had stayed in a ward in Konyang University Hospital and a ward in Dae-Chung Hospital in which a confirmed patient was admitted; and
* One visitor who had stayed in the same ward in Hallym University Medical Center as another confirmed patient.

To date, 107 MERS cases have been reported as part of the outbreak in South Korea. In addition, another case was exported from Korea to Mainland China.

#China | #HongKong – All inbound #travellers from South #Korea w #respiratory symptoms considered suspect #MERS cases

Secretary for Food & Health Dr Ko Wing-man has refuted suggestions of lax communication between Government agencies over the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak in Korea.

He told the media today the Food & Health Bureau has maintained close contact with the Security Bureau on the issue.

The issuing of the Red Outbound Travel Alert this morning will help travellers who have purchased flight tickets or made hotel bookings to adjust their travel plans, he said, accepting criticism the Government issued the alert at short notice.

He said the Government will consider implementing a new mechanism to notify travellers of health risks.

Speaking on Hong Kong’s MERS precautions, Dr Ko said the Government has classified all inbound travellers from South Korea with respiratory symptoms as suspected MERS cases, since raising its responsiveness level for the disease to ‘serious’ yesterday.

More than 10 patients have been sent to hospital for check-ups since then.

Although the number of confirmed MERS cases in Korea announced today is less than yesterday, Dr Ko said further observation is required to assess whether the disease is under control in the country.

#China | #HongKong – 19 close contacts complete #quarantine period today – #MERS

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) provided a daily update on the number of suspected cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) under the CHP’s investigation with effect from today (June 9), and again urged the public to pay special attention to safety during travel, taking due consideration of health risks of the places of visit.

Since the activation of the Serious Response Level under the Government’s Preparedness Plan for MERS yesterday (June 8) to noon today, the CHP was notified of 19 suspected cases, including 14 tested negative for MERS Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) upon preliminary testing by the CHP’s Public Health Laboratory Services Branch and the remaining five pending test results. Cases are detailed in the Attachment.

“Regarding the first case exported from Korea to Mainland China, all 19 asymptomatic close contacts in Hong Kong have completed quarantine this afternoon,” a spokesman for the CHP said.

“In view of the latest situation in Korea, the public should avoid unnecessary travel to Korea, in particular, those with chronic illnesses. Travellers in Korea and the Middle East should avoid unnecessary visit to health-care facilities (HCFs),” the spokesman said.

Locally, the DH’s surveillance with public and private hospitals, practising doctors and at boundary control points is firmly in place. Inbound travellers with fever or lower respiratory symptoms who recently visited Korea and the Middle East will be classified as suspected MERS cases and taken to public hospitals for isolation and management until their specimens test negative for MERS-CoV.

“In addition, travellers to the Middle East should avoid going to farms, barns or markets with camels, and avoid contact with sick persons and animals, especially camels, birds or poultry. We strongly advise travel agents organising tours to the Middle East to abstain from arranging camel rides and activities involving direct contact with camels, which are a known risk factor for acquiring MERS. And according to the World Health Organization (WHO), among the recently exported cases in which the patients reported performing Umrah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), investigations revealed that they had either visited an HCF or had come into contact with camels or raw camel products while in the KSA. As Ramadan will begin in mid-June, pilgrims preparing to go to the KSA for Umrah should be vigilant against MERS,” the spokesman said.

Travellers to affected areas should maintain vigilance, adopt appropriate health precautions and take heed of personal, food and environmental hygiene. The public may visit the pages below for more information and health advice:

* The CHP’s MERS page (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/26511.html);
* MERS statistics in affected areas (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/distribution_of_mers_cases_en.pdf);
* List of hospitals with confirmed MERS case(s) announced by Korea (www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/korean_hospital_list.pdf)
* The MERS page of the DH’s Travel Health Service (www.travelhealth.gov.hk/english/popup/popup.html);
* The CHP Facebook Page (www.fb.com/CentreforHealthProtection);
* The CHP YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/c/ChpGovHkChannel); and
* The WHO’s latest news (www.who.int/csr/don/archive/disease/coronavirus_infections/en).

Tour leaders and tour guides operating overseas tours are advised to refer to the CHP’s health advice on MERS (www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/26551.html).

South #Korea | 8 additional cases of #MERS reported – Total number of cases now stands at 94

Eight additional cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have been reported by South Korea.

According to health authorities, they are:

* Three patients of the emergency department of Samsung Medical Center;
* One patient of Asan Medical Center and a visitor of Yeouido St Mary’s Hospital. They had contact with a confirmed patient in the hospitals on May 26 and May 28 respectively;
* Two in-patients of Hallym University Medical Center. They had been admitted to the same ward with another confirmed patient from May 27 to 29; and
* One in-patient of Konyang University Hospital who had contact with a confirmed patient in the hospital.

To date, 94 MERS cases have been reported by South Korea. In addition, another case was exported from to Mainland China.