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 April 23, 2003
Update On SARS Situation In Hong Kong

 The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office has provided an overview of Hong Kong government's measures against SARS, here are some new developments.

To more effectively prevent the spreading of SARS, the Government launched a territory-wide cleansing campaign during the Easter weekend. The campaign is widely supported by the community. Besides, with effect from April 17, all passengers departing at the Hong Kong International Airport will be required to have their body temperature taken before check-in. The measure is in line with the World Health Organisation travel advice that people departing from affected areas should be screened for possible SARS at the point of departure. In addition, the Government is also planning to measure the body temperature of all passengers arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport. Further information will be announced in due course. The Government has also announced that secondary school classes will resume in phases by the end of April.

Last week, the Government released the findings of the investigation into the outbreak of SARS at Amoy Gardens. The findings argue against the possibility of airborne transmission of the disease. The findings showed that not one single factor could account for the outbreak in Block E of Amoy Gardens and that the outbreak was likely to be the result of a combination of factors, including transmission via the sewage system and environmental contamination. Air and water samples showed no evidence of contamination. The laboratory test results together with the spatial and temporal distribution of cases in Amoy Garden and the epidemiological picture argue against airborne transmission or transmission through contaminated water.

As of April 22, there are accumulatively 1434 people in Hong Kong infected with SARS, 461SARS patients have been discharged and 99 infected people have died.