Standing Down of Serious Response Level
under Government’s Preparedness Plan for MERS

政府下調中東呼吸綜合症應變計劃之嚴重應變級別

政府今日(八月一日)基於韓國中東呼吸綜合症的最新風險評估,決定將「中東呼吸綜合症應變計劃」下的應變級別由「嚴重」下調至「戒備」。同時,衛生署亦取消避免在非必要情況下到訪韓國的旅遊健康建議。政府於六月八日因應韓國的醫療機構大規模爆發中東呼吸綜合症,並當時對香港構成潛在威脅,將應變級別由「戒備」提升至「嚴重」,並向香港市民發出旅遊健康建議。

韓國每日新增個案自六月下旬起已顯著減少,最後一宗確診個案於七月三日在醫院接受隔離。在當局更嚴密追蹤接觸者、監察和檢疫的同時,新增個案減少,顯示韓國的疾病控制措施有效。根據世界衛生組織,韓國的爆發與中東地區與醫療機構相關的爆發個案於流行病學上相似,沒有證據顯示中東呼吸綜合症冠狀病毒於韓國社區持續傳播。根據現行做法,由於最後一宗個案於七月三日接受隔離後的兩段最長潛伏期(即共二十八日)內沒有新增個案,韓國醫療機構出現的中東呼吸綜合症冠狀病毒傳播即被視為已經終止。

自六月八日提升至嚴重應變級別以來,截至昨日(七月三十一日)中午,衛生署衛生防護中心在加強監測下接獲共403宗中東呼吸綜合症懷疑個案呈報,全部證實對中東呼吸綜合症冠狀病毒呈陰性反應。本港的公私營醫院的監測機制亦沒有發現任何中東呼吸綜合症個案。我們會繼續密切監察全球的中東呼吸綜合症情況。

雖然應變級別下調,但為預防中東呼吸綜合症,市民應繼續保持警覺。同學及家長到中東旅遊時應避免到農場、農莊或有駱駝的市場,亦應避免接觸病人及動物,特別是駱駝、雀鳥或家禽,及儘量避免到訪當地的醫療機構。為預防感染中東呼吸綜合症及其他呼吸道疾病,建議應採取以下措施:

  1. 不應飲用或食用未經處理或未經煮熟的動物產品(包括鮮奶和肉類),或可能被動物分泌物、排泄物(例如尿液)或產品染污的食物,除非已經煮熟、洗淨或妥為去皮;
  2. 若感到不適,應立即求醫;
  3. 避免到中東呼吸綜合症病人入住的醫護機構;
  4. 觸摸眼、鼻及口前,打噴嚏、咳嗽或清潔鼻子後均應洗手;及
  5. 進食或處理食物前、如廁後洗手。

此外,衛生防護中心亦已向學校就預防感染新型冠狀病毒方面發放指引,如欲參考相關文件,可瀏覽以下網址
http://www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/advice_to_school_on_prevention_of_middle_east_respiratory_infection_chi.pdf

I would like to inform you that the Government has decided to lower the response level under the Preparedness Plan for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) from “Serious” to “Alert” on 1 August 2015 basing on the latest risk assessment of the MERS situation in Korea. At the same time, the Department of Health (DH) has also lifted the travel health advice of avoiding non-essential travel to Korea. The response level was raised to "Serious" and the travel health advice was issued to Hong Kong residents on 8 June 2015 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 each day in Korea has declined significantly since late June. The last confirmed case was isolated in hospital on 3 July. The decline has coincided with much stronger contact tracing, monitoring and quarantine, suggesting that the disease control measures in Korea are working. According to the World Health Organization, the epidemiological pattern of the outbreak in Korea was similar to the hospital-associated outbreaks that have occurred in the Middle East and there was no evidence of sustained community transmission of MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Korea. According to the current practice, the transmission of MERS-CoV in healthcare institutions in Korea is considered to have ceased as there is no new case detected within two maximum incubation periods (i.e., 28 days in total) after isolation of the last case on 3 July.

Since the activation of the Serious Response Level on June 8, as of noon yesterday (31 July), 403 suspected MERS cases were reported to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of 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. DH will continue to closely monitor the global situation of MERS.

Although the response level for MERS has been lowered since 1 August, members of the public should remain vigilant against MERS. Parents and students should avoid going to farms, barns or markets with camels, avoid contact with sick persons and animals, especially camels, birds or poultry especially, and avoid unnecessary visit to healthcare facilities when travelling in the Middle East. When travelling, they are advised to take heed of personal, food and environmental hygiene:

• Do not consume raw or undercooked animal products, including milk and meat, or foods which may be contaminated by animal secretions, excretions (such as urine) or products, unless they have been properly cooked, washed or peeled;
• Seek medical consultation immediately if feeling unwell;
• Avoid visits to health-care settings with MERS patients;
• Wash hands before touching the eyes, nose and mouth, and after sneezing, coughing or cleaning the nose; and
• Wash hands before eating or handling food, and after using the toilet.

You may wish to note that the CHP has issued guidelines to school on prevention of MERS which can be accessed at: (http://www.chp.gov.hk/files/pdf/advice_to_school_on_prevention_of_middl e_east_respiratory_infection.pdf).