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Census recruitment starts

The Census & Statistics Department today announced that it is recruiting 13,800 temporary field workers to support data collection work for the 2021 Population Census which will run from June 23 to August 4, 2021.   In-service teachers and teaching assistants of local primary and secondary schools, and students of full-time locally-accredited degree and sub-degree programmes can apply through the Online Job Application System for the 2021 Population Census now.   The department explained that population censuses are conducted in Hong Kong once every decade to obtain up-to-date benchmark information on the socio-economic characteristics of the population as well as its detailed geographical distribution.   The department will provide training to the workers before they are deployed for on-site fieldwork or operational support.   Most of them will be assigned to visit households who have not yet completed their questionnaires online or through other means to collect from them the requested information from mid-July next year.   Some workers will be deployed to work at Census Service Centres from mid-June next year to answer telephone enquiries and conduct telephone interviews.   In… Read More »Census recruitment starts

115 COVID-19 cases recorded

(To watch the full press briefing with sign language interpretation, click here.)   The Centre for Health Protection today said it is investigating 115 additional COVID-19 cases, of which 109 are locally transmitted.   The centre’s Communicable Disease Branch Head Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan told a press briefing this afternoon that the cases involve 42 men and 73 women ranging in age from 11 months to 86.   Among the locally transmitted cases, 24 have an unknown source of infection, 23 have links with previous cases and 62 are related to the dance club cluster.   The dance club cluster has registered close to 480 cases so far.   Dr Chuang said according to the trend and the number of confirmed cases so far, this wave of the epidemic seems more severe than the last. She called on the public to maintain social distancing and avoid unnecessary social gatherings.   Among the local cases, more than 10 are related to three restaurants and involve both staff and customers.   The Government will publish a compulsory testing notice requiring people who had been to the three food premises after… Read More »115 COVID-19 cases recorded

Govt reports 2 COVID-19 cases

A Transport Department engineer has tested positive and a Lai King Correctional Institution Rehabilitation Unit correctional officer has tested preliminary positive for COVID-19.   The engineer works on 16/F, South Tower, West Kowloon Government Offices, Yau Ma Tei. The floor is not open to the public. She last performed her duties on November 26.   She wore a mask and followed relevant disease prevention while at work. She has no recent travel history.    Her workplace, including the common areas, will be fully cleaned and sterilised.   The correctional officer also has no recent travel history. She last performed her duties on November 24.   She visited an outside hospital ward when she was off duty last week. She was notified by the Centre for Health Protection on November 24 that a confirmed case was hospitalised there and she was therefore regarded as a close contact of the case.    She was arranged to be sent to the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre the next day and was notified last night that she had tested preliminary positive for COVID-19.   The officer is now being treated at Pamela Youde Nethersole… Read More »Govt reports 2 COVID-19 cases

Care home staff must take virus test

The Government will require residential care home staff to undergo compulsory COVID-19 testing soon and the aim is for them to be tested once a week.   Secretary for Labour & Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong made the statement after attending a radio programme this morning.   He said those who do not comply with the compulsory testing should not be working.   “That is the instruction we will be giving to the residential service operators. We will see how it goes. Anyway, this is the first time. The aim is in the long run it will be once every week and also only those who have a valid negative test will be able to go back to work.”   Dr Law noted there will be a penalty for those who do not take the test. “Under the current regulations, if they are required to do the COVID-19 test but they do not, they are violating the regulations and will have a penalty of a $2,000 fine.   “They will also be given an order to do it within a given number of days and… Read More »Care home staff must take virus test

84 COVID-19 cases detected

(To watch the full press briefing with sign language interpretation, click here.)   The Centre for Health Protection today said it is investigating 84 additional COVID-19 cases, of which 81 are locally transmitted.   The centre’s Communicable Disease Branch Head Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan told a press briefing this afternoon that the cases involve 35 men and 49 women ranging in age from 12 to 84.   Among the locally transmitted cases, 27 have an unknown source of infection, six have links with previous cases and 48 are related to the dance club cluster.   The dance club cluster has registered more than 410 cases so far.   One of the cases in the cluster involves a Canossa College teacher. The school has to close for 14 days while all the students have to undergo virus testing.   The patient has a close contact who works in another school. Although he tested negative yesterday, as a precaution, the school has to close for one or two more days to wait for further test results.   Dr Chuang explained that the communicable period is… Read More »84 COVID-19 cases detected

Healthcare staff strike addressed

(To watch the full press briefing with sign language interpretation, click here.)   There will be no further human resources follow-up arrangement except for the deduction of wages for those healthcare workers who participated in a strike in February, the Hospital Authority said today.   Hospital Authority Chief Manager (Clinical Effectiveness & Technology Management) Dr Linda Yu made the remarks at a press briefing this afternoon, noting that the authority had thoroughly discussed the issue.   “The Hospital Authority Board yesterday had discussed and decided with due consideration of the legal advice, employment ordinance, human resources policy, the employment contract and also staff morale to recover the wages paid to the employees in respect of their verified days of absence from duty in February.   “This is what they have decided and they also mentioned there would not be any other human resources follow-up arrangement.”

Mobile virus testing extended

After reviewing the usage and public demand for the COVID-19 testing service, the Government has decided to extend the services at four mobile specimen collection stations until further notice.   The stations will continue to provide urgent cluster testing services for citizens from 10am to 8pm daily.   They are at Sha Tsui Road Playground, Tsuen Wan; the Sai Kung Jockey Club Town Hall carpark, 8 Chan Man Street, Sai Kung; the Tai Po Community Centre basketball court, No. 2 Heung Sze Wui Street and the open area outside Tai Wo Neighbourhood Community Centre, Tai Wo Estate in Tai Po.   The specimen bottle distribution point set up at the platform outside Tsuen King Circuit Sports Centre in Tsuen Wan will cease operation after November 27, while the other two set up at the Velodrome Park amphitheatre, 105-107 Po Hong Road and the hard-surfaced football pitch at Po Hong Park, 10 Wan Lung Road in Tseung Kwan O will maintain operations until November 29.   As of yesterday, the Government had provided free COVID-19 nucleic acid testing to more than 12,300 people through seven… Read More »Mobile virus testing extended

Use of vaccines clarified

The COVID-19 epidemic is a public health crisis and the Government will, if needed, consider taking measures to enable the emergency use of vaccines with proven safety and efficacy.   The Food & Health Bureau made the statement in response to an inaccurate online media report about the bureau’s claim that COVID-19 vaccines developed and approved for use in the Mainland cannot be used in Hong Kong’s healthcare system.   The Government regretted the report which created a biased image that Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s regulatory system for pharmaceutical products was prejudiced against Mainland vaccines.   The bureau said a two-pronged strategy is being adopted to procure vaccines that meet the criteria of safety, efficacy and quality for Hong Kong people.   It noted Hong Kong’s regulatory framework and registration system for pharmaceutical products are long-established and have been effective.   The relevant regulatory regime is generic in nature and is applicable to all pharmaceutical products provided and used in Hong Kong, including vaccines, the bureau added.

Docs empowered to order tests

Registered doctors are empowered to require any person whom they clinically suspect has contracted COVID-19 to undergo a test.   Announcing the new measure which will be in force tomorrow for 14 days, the Food & Health Bureau said compulsory testing for symptomatic patients can effectively slow down the transmission of the virus by early identification, early isolation and early treatment.   As the recent epidemic situation is deteriorating rapidly, the Government considers it necessary to solicit help from doctors in identifying possibly infected people as soon as possible.   People who have received written directions from registered doctors should undergo a COVID-19 nucleic acid test within two days after the direction’s issue date.   The bureau reminded that people who are subject to testing are suspected to be infected and should not go to community testing centres for testing. They should also stay at home and avoid going out when waiting for test results.   Those who fail to comply with the written direction would face a $2,000 fine and be served with a compulsory testing order. Failure to comply… Read More »Docs empowered to order tests

Pet quarantine centre to open

The Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department will launch its New Territories South centre next Monday as another quarantine facility for pets related to COVID-19 cases.   The department said the move is in response to a surge in the number of confirmed human cases and close contacts that required pet owners to send over their pets for quarantine and veterinary monitoring.   All animals originally kept in the New Territories South centre will be transferred to other animal management centres for follow up. The centre will not open to public until further notice.   The animal keeping facility at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Hong Kong Port will only be used for quarantine and veterinary monitoring for animals tested COVID-19 positive.   The department said currently there is no evidence that pets play a role in the spread of human infection with COVID-19. Pet owners should always maintain good hygiene practices and under no circumstances should they abandon their pets.