Scientific committees under the Centre for Health Protection today convened a joint meeting to review measures to control the spread of novel coronavirus.

 

At the meeting, members of the Scientific Committee on Emerging & Zoonotic Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Infection Control were updated on the latest global and local situation of the disease and reviewed the current surveillance and control measures in Hong Kong.

 

Members agreed that there is evidence of community transmission of the virus in the city.

 

To stop the disease’s spread and to prevent the virus from taking root locally, Hong Kong should continue to maintain the current strategy of isolating cases, quarantine of close contacts and medical surveillance of other contacts.

 

The two committees acknowledged that as the outbreaks in the Mainland are ongoing, the existing measures to minimise the population movements between Hong Kong and the Mainland should remain in place and be periodically assessed.

 

Regarding the quarantine period for contacts of confirmed cases, committee members recommended the period to be maintained at 14 days.

 

They advised that when quarantine centres have reached their full capacity, close contacts should be quarantined in designated quarantine facilities for the first 10 days while they could be put under home quarantine for the remaining four days on a case-by-case basis.

 

Social distancing measures, personal hygiene and environmental hygiene measures should be strengthened to minimise the further spread of the disease locally, committee members added.

 

As some cases of the virus present with mild symptoms, members also recommended that the enhanced surveillance be expanded from inpatient to outpatient settings.