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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

Public hospitals will provide a testing service that can detect the influenza and COIVD-19 viruses in one go for patients with flu-like symptoms amid the concurrent challenge of the two viruses to Hong Kong this winter.

Hospital Authority Chief Manager (Cluster Performance) Dr Ian Cheung made the remarks at a media session this afternoon where he unveiled measures to be taken by the authority during the upcoming winter flu surge.

Anticipating a huge demand for medical services this winter, due to factors including the prevalence of influenza, the authority will confront the challenges in various ways.

Among them is the provision of a combined influenza and COVID-19 test for patients suffering from flu-like illness symptoms.

Dr Cheung said: “For the combined test, the reagent can be tested in one go, so it shortens the turnaround time. If we can have a two-test result, actually it is helpful to our clinicians when making a decision to give treatment.”

He also called on society to receive the influenza vaccination as soon as possible and explained why it is so crucial to do so.

“(Since) earlier this year, because we have (implemented) a lot of infection control (measures) community-wide – we have universal masking, social distancing, hand washing (measures) and we have (suspended) schools, some (people have) worked from home and then we have stopped travelling – the immunity in the community may (have been) affected because we have not (been) exposed to the flu for so many months.

“So vaccination is very important to protect us. (It) gives more protection to high-risk groups and everybody. If we have been vaccinated, at least we will have less symptoms or we can minimise the after-effect of getting the flu,” Dr Cheung emphasised.

Other measures to cope with the winter flu surge include early allocation of resources to public hospitals and the enhancement of facility and manpower resources for them, he added.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News