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The Immigration Department and the Department of Health have reinforced their staff to Japan to continue assisting the Hong Kong passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship who are still there. The Hong Kong passengers include patients confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 and are hospitalised, as well as the close contacts of the confirmed cases now under quarantine on land. Currently, there are 23 immigration officers in Japan and a medical team including infectious disease and respiratory medicine specialists providing suitable support to the patients and their families. All passengers onboard the cruise ship disembarked on February 23. At that time, 70 among the 691 confirmed coronavirus infection cases involved Hong Kong residents. Another 31 were regarded as close contacts and sent to various land quarantine facilities for 14 days. Earlier, two Hong Kong passengers who are close contacts were confirmed to have contracted COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 72. Three government chartered flights were arranged to bring home 193 Hong Kong residents between February 19 and 23. Up till now, another 25 Hong Kong residents have returned by themselves on other flights. As at February 26, 218 Hong Kong passengers have been sent to the Chun Yeung Estate quarantine centre. Among them, seven have subsequently been confirmed to have contracted the virus and sent to hospitals for isolation and treatment. The close-to-100 Hong Kong residents who are hospitalised or under quarantine in Japan have been sent to hospitals or quarantine facilities across 11 prefectures and cities, namely Aichi, Kanagawa, Tokyo, Chiba, Ibaraki, Gifu, Nara, Yamanashi, Nagano, Osaka and Saitama. Immigration officers are split and assigned to these places to help Hong Kong residents there. The Department of Health’s medical team will also visit the confirmed patients and their families as far as practicable, and will contact the attending doctors and where appropriate, arrange direct conversations with the patients or their family members to assess whether the patients have received appropriate medical treatment. As of February 26, eight confirmed patients among the Hong Kong passengers have recovered and been discharged from hospital after treatment. Four of them have returned to Hong Kong and the remaining four are still in Japan accompanying their family members or awaiting assistance from immigration officers for flight arrangements for their return. Discharged patients would have been tested twice for COVID-19 and both test results have to be negative before they are discharged from hospital, to ensure they are no longer infectious. For prudence sake, each discharged patient is given health advice and reminded to contact port health staff upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport for a health assessment and arrangement of a 14-day medical surveillance. In addition, a Hong Kong resident who was classified as a close contact has completed the quarantine in Japan and was permitted to leave. Close contacts need to have their health assessed by port health staff upon their return to Hong Kong. If a close contact has not finished a 14-day quarantine counted from the day of disembarkation from the Diamond Princess, or February 23, he or she must complete the remaining quarantine period in a quarantine centre upon returning home. The close contact of concern has returned to Hong Kong and is continuing the quarantine at Chun Yeung Estate. Other close contacts who are still in Japan have all now been admitted to land quarantine facilities for a 14-day stay, counted from the day of last contact with the confirmed cases. Over the past few days, the Hong Kong Government has continued to actively consider feasible plans for bringing them back earlier. However, as they are still under quarantine and might carry certain infection risks, the airlines approached by the Government have expressed reservations about providing a chartered flight service. Various companies approached by the Government are also unwilling to accept the service request for land passage services, as the concerned close contacts are scattered across 11 different places. These close contacts will finish the quarantine on different dates and be tested for COVID-19. The immigration officers in Japan will continue to follow their situation closely and provide the necessary assistance, including helping arrange for their early return to Hong Kong after they have completed quarantine in Japan.
posted on Feb 27, 2020 12:00 am
At midnight at the Hong Kong Observatory : Air temperature : 21 degrees Celsius Relative Humidity : 82 per cent The air temperatures at other places were: Hong Kong Observatory21 degrees ; King's Park19 degrees ; Wong Chuk Hang20 degrees ; Ta Kwu Ling19 degrees ; Lau Fau Shan19 degrees ; Tai Po19 degrees ; Sha Tin19 degrees ; Tuen Mun20 degrees ; Tseung Kwan O17 degrees ; Sai Kung19 degrees ; Cheung Chau18 degrees ; Chek Lap Kok22 degrees ; Tsing Yi19 degrees ; Shek Kong19 degrees ; Tsuen Wan Ho Koon19 degrees ; Tsuen Wan Shing Mun Valley19 degrees ; Hong Kong Park19 degrees ; Shau Kei Wan19 degrees ; Kowloon City19 degrees ; Happy Valley19 degrees ; Wong Tai Sin19 degrees ; Stanley20 degrees ; Kwun Tong19 degrees ; Sham Shui Po20 degrees ; Kai Tak Runway Park19 degrees ; Yuen Long Park19 degrees ; Tai Mei Tuk19 degrees .
posted on Feb 29, 2020 12:02 am
Communicable Diseases Watch Volume 17, Number 4, Week 7 - 8 (February 9 - February 22, 2020)
posted on Feb 27, 2020 12:00 am
From 19 to 25 February, no new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were reported. This was the first time since the beginning of the response that no new confirmed cases were reported over a seven-day period (Figure 1). The most recent case was reported in Beni Health Zone, North Kivu Province on 17 February. While the lack of new confirmed cases reported in the last seven days is a major achievement, the outbreak remains active and risk of additional cases emerging remains high. In the past 21 days (5 to 25 February 2020), four confirmed cases were reported from two health areas in Beni Health Zone in North Kivu Province (Figure 2, Table 1). Even with strengthened surveillance operations, transmission of Ebola virus outside of groups currently under surveillance cannot be excluded. Ebola virus also persists in some survivors’ body fluids, with potential to infect others. In at least one instance during this outbreak, relapse – in which a person who has recovered from EVD develops symptoms again – was observed, sparking a new chain of transmission which has taken several months to interrupt. To mitigate a potential resurgence of the outbreak, it is critical to maintain response capacities to rapidly detect and respond to any new cases, and to prioritize survivor support and monitoring and the maintenance of cooperative relationships with the survivors’ associations. Substantial surveillance, pathogen detection, and clinical management activities are currently ongoing, including validating alerts, following remaining contacts who were potentially exposed to the virus, supporting rapid diagnostics of suspected cases, and working with community members to strengthen surveillance on people who pass away in the communities. As of 25 February, 510 contacts are currently under surveillance, of which 97% were followed daily in the last seven days. In the last seven days, more than 5100 alerts per day were reported and investigated, of which over 400 alerts (including ~70 community deaths) were validated as suspected EVD cases; requiring laboratory testing and specialized care within the established Ebola treatment and transit centres. On average, suspect cases stay in these facilities for three days before EVD can be definitively ruled out (i.e. after two negative polymerase chain reaction tests 48 hours apart), while care is provided for their illness under isolation precautions. Timely testing of suspected cases continues to be provided across 11 operational laboratories deployed in cities that have been affected by the outbreak. From 17 to 23 February, more than 3600 samples were tested.
posted on Feb 27, 2020 8:00 am
Secure and equal access to land for all: Lessons on land governance and climate resilience from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Secure land and property rights are an essential aspect of planning for and delivering sustainable human settlements, as recognised in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and its New Urban Agenda. Secure land tenure schemes can play an especially important role in enabling households, communities and cities to adapt to climate change, for...
posted on Feb 28, 2020 10:24 pm
By Sophie Hares, UNDRR – Americas and the CaribbeanMenaced by increasingly violent hurricanes, Caribbean countries face an enormous bill to better protect themselves disasters and need to weave a web of financing options to help insulate against shocks, said speakers at a regional conference. Boosting lackluster economic growth, ramping up insurance and disaster funds, and embracing the private sector would help bolster countries which needed to invest more in resilience, said speakers at the Comprehensive Disaster Management Conference (CDM11) in Sint Maarten. "Budgeting for disaster should be a must for us all," said Silveria Jacobs, prime minister of Sint Maarten, which was ravaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017. A common disaster fund and a joint insurance plan to protect the small businesses that drive local economies could help the region, she told the conference, organized by the Caribbean Disasters and Emergency Agency (CDEMA). "Government cannot definitely not go it alone… Business resilience drives the economy which ensures that islands can bounce back even faster," said Jacobs, who urged more investment in resilient infrastructure. With many countries heavily indebted, creating layers of risk financing was key if countries are to limit the economic impact of disasters, which could also include flooding, drought, tsunamis and seismic activity, said speakers. Risk financing layers should include funds shaved from national budgets, paired with fast-paying parametric insurance and access to lines of credit, said Ming Zhang, World Bank regional practice manager for urban and disaster risk management. While new insurance products could help protect livelihoods and the fishing industry in the event of disasters, there was more scope to expand insurance to include households and small businesses, said Zhang in an interview. "You cannot set up a contingency fund to address a Category 5 hurricane," said Zhang, who estimates disasters cost the Caribbean 1 percent of its gross domestic product each year. "You need a risk financing strategy… each country should look at different layers and different contingencies, insurance and other mechanisms." While countries such as St. Lucia and Grenada were looking to set up disaster funds bolstered by lines of credit, there needs to be more focus on how money was being spent in the region to better prepare for disasters, he said. More advanced recovery planning was needed to make sure emergency shelters and supplies were available, while strengthening homes and infrastructure could help reduce economic impact down the track, he said. "In the midst of borrowing for public investment, governments need to ensure that these funds are certainly being spent to ensure resilience," said Ronald Jackson, CDEMA executive director, said in an interview. "That's one area that will drive down exposure and be a lower cost to government when these events occur." NO SILVER BULLET Emergency cash payments to small businesses, farmers and the most vulnerable after hurricanes in Barbados and Dominica helped stimulate the local economies and get people back on their feet, said speakers. But countries needed to ensure adequate systems were in place to disperse social protection payments to make sure they reach the right people as quickly as possible, they added. "No single financial instrument is the solution, we have to adopt a risk layering approach," Nicholas Grainger, programme associate at the World Food Programme, told the conference. Given the private sector shells out for up to 85 percent of all investment and absorbs the lion's share of disaster losses, businesses should be closer involved in trying to driving down risk and promoting economic resilience, said speakers. "It's very clear that reducing disaster risk cannot be done by one actor or sector alone," Nahuel Arenas, Deputy Chief of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Regional Office for the Americas and the Caribbean, told the conference. "Resilient investment is about integrating risk through business practices and investment decisions." The UNDRR-backed business network, known as The Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies or ARISE, is growing quickly in the Caribbean where companies are increasingly aware that disaster risk reduction (DRR) makes sound business sense, said speakers. Jeffrey Beckles, chief executive of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, said the private sector wanted a greater role in DRR given it was a major employer and driver of growth. It also has a lot to lose. Businesses suffered some 90 percent of the massive losses in the Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian in September, he added. "We bring to the table the ability to look further down the road than any single administration," Beckles told the conference. "We bring to the table a much deeper, wider capacity for casting a longer-term strategy for resiliency and prospects for our country's stability," Developing the digital and blue economies, while finding ways to expand the benefits of industries such as tourism could help bolster the region's economy and ultimately make households more resilient, said speakers. "Resilient people build resilient lives, and resilient communities and economies," said Sint Maarten's Jacobs. Related links https://www.cdema.org/cdm11/ https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/caribbean https://cdema.org/ https://www.wfp.org/ https://www.thebahamaschamber.com/
posted on Jan 03, 2020 7:00 am
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