Opening remarks by SFH at media session after meeting
Professor Malik Peiris and Professor David Hui (with photo)
Following are the opening remarks made by the Secretary for Food and Health,
Dr Ko Wing-man, at a media session after meeting Professor Malik Peiris and
Professor David Hui this evening (June 14):
I am very grateful that our two experts, Professor Malik Peiris and
Professor David Hui, have agreed to meet with representatives from the Food
and Health Bureau, the Hospital Authority and the Centre for Health
Protection (CHP) immediately after they returned from Korea.
We learnt from our experts that there is no strong evidence at present to
suggest that the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus has changed
to become more transmissible and there is also no definite evidence of
community outbreak in Korea. In fact all of the cases still appear to be
linked to another confirmed case, mostly still in health care settings.
We are also informed about the most updated infection control measures taken
by the Korean authority upon advice from the World Health Organization (WHO)
expert group. Nevertheless, we are of the view that the following one or two
weeks are still very critical for us to follow the direction of the
development of the epidemic in Korea before we can assure that the outbreak
is under control.
In Hong Kong, we have already taken a precautionary approach to the outbreak
in Korea and activated the Serious Response Level of the Government's
Preparedness Plan and issued the Outbound Travel Alert. Because of the heavy
traffic between Korea and Hong Kong, we think the present measures might
need to be maintained for some weeks before the outbreak in Korea is under
We should always remember that the largest outbreak of MERS is still in the
Middle East. We need to reinforce our infection control measures in all
health care facilities and maintain vigilance against all other emerging or
re-emerging infectious diseases, be it MERS, Ebola or other diseases.
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. 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
The CHP will maintain close communication with the WHO and the health
authority of Korea. Members of the public and the health care sector should
heighten vigilance and stay alert to the latest situation.
(Please also refer to the
Chinese portion of the opening remarks.)
Ends/Sunday, June 14, 2015
Issued at HKT 22:54