After the Chinese New Year Holidays, I planned to come back to Hong Kong on 7th Feb 2020. However, due to some delay in the delivery of my first grandson, I changed my schedule so much so that I have to extend my stay in the United States for 12 more days. Thanks to blessings from my relatives and colleagues, everything went well with the new member of my family. He is a full term normal spontaneously delivered boy with body weight of seven and a half pounds.
During my 24 days stay in United States, I have been connecting well with the council members, the Union staff, members and the media through whatsapp, and Zoom for meetings. As in 2003 SARS period, we have immediately set up Facebook Live for future CME sessions for our members so as to provide social distancing in this WARS period. We are sorry to postpone the scheduled Sunday Afternoon Symposium in February to decrease the chance of cross infection. As the WARS endemic is still going on, we have no choice but to postpone future Sunday Afternoon Symposia in Princess Margaret Hospital for the time being until further notice. In the mean time, we have arranged alternative measures in the form of Weekday Afternoon Symposia by ZOOM or Facebook Live for all members. Please refer to pages P.8-10 of this Bulletin for announcements from the CME committee. We thank you for your understanding and endurance in this difficult period. We hope we can manage to provide similar opportunities for members to update their medical knowledge to face the immediate and future medical challenges.
We are told that, similar to SARS, the WARS would spread from person to person and similar to SARS, we are advocating mask wearing for all citizens of Hong Kong especially when they are in crowded areas like buses, trains, ships and planes, malls etc. to fight against cross infection. But unlike SARS period there is abrupt shortage of PPE including masks so much so that people are demanding the government to tighten cross border control to decrease influx of patients, symptomatic or asymptomatic alike. The reasons for such shortage of masks as compared with SARS period are two folds. Firstly, after the SARS experience, people are much more educated to protect themselves from the very first beginning. Secondly, The WARS started in Central China and spread to every part of China in very short time, unlike SARS which started in Southern part of China which took much more time spreading northwards and to other countries.
In view of such, I have tried to source masks in the States, and Canada for members of our Union when I was in the States. I have ordered up to 80,000 masks but in vain at the end when the suppliers replied that the masks were out of stock. One last order of 20,000 masks was still on its way and hopefully these can arrive in time for our members. In Hong Kong, thanks to hard work of the council and the Union staff, we have managed to support our member’s protection against WARS by supplying masks to those members in need. As far as I know, there are still a number of members who need the masks for protection and we are still working very hard on that. You will be informed when the masks arrive. We are most thankful to those members of the society who donate masks to our practising doctors.
We have sent out a press statement to warn the public on the importance of wearing masks on 19th Feb 2020 as a means to correct some of the misunderstanding of the use of masks created by some healthcare personnel in town. Please refer to pages P.6-7 of this Bulletin for our press statement. With the media coverage of the similar view expressed by many other medical bodies, we wish that we can stop some disaster.