MERS response level raised

The Health Bureau has raised the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) response level to high and advised the people to avoid unnecessary travel to South Korea. Spokespersons of the Bureau made the announcement at a press briefing on 8 June when they also announced a string of measures to guard against the virus. These include the 24-hour operation of the MERS cross-departmental group and extending the enquiry hotline 2870 0800 from 9 am to midnight. Reserves of testing reagents are increased from 300 to 2,000 and laboratory technicians have been put on round-the-clock shifts for samples testing. The Government has prepared two venues that could accommodate 180 people for isolation, plus adequate resources for tracing and quarantine. Visitors to Conde S. Januário Hospital and health centres are required to wear surgical masks, while visiting time in the public hospital have also been cut from five hours a day to three hours a day. Meanwhile the six suspected cases of people with respiratory symptoms were all tested negative from MERS. The Bureau will keep close contact with the World Health Organization, health authorities in Seoul and neighbouring areas for the latest information on development. Macao travellers in Korea were advised to avoid visiting health centres and travellers to the Middle East should avoid farms and contact with animals, in particular camels and birds. The Bureau urged the public to practise good personal and environmental hygiene and to seek medical treatment immediately if fever or cough symptoms developed.

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