Author Archives: hksar gov

Update on cases of Legionnaires’ disease

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (March 30) reported the latest number of cases of Legionnaires' disease (LD), and stressed the importance of using and maintaining properly designed man-made water systems, adding that susceptible groups should strictly observe relevant precautions.
     From March 22 to 28, two imported LD cases were reported:

  1. A male patient, aged 87 with underlying illnesses, who stayed in Huizhou, Guangdong Province, during the entire incubation period; and
  2. A male patient, aged 78 with underlying illnesses, who stayed in Meizhou, Guangdong Province, during the entire incubation period.

     "Epidemiological investigations are ongoing to identify potential sources of infection, high-risk exposure and clusters, if any," a spokesman for the CHP said.
     As of March 28 this year, 33 LD cases had been reported. In 2019 and 2018, there were 105 cases each year.
     "Men, people aged over 50, smokers, alcoholics and persons with weakened immunity are more susceptible to LD. Some situations may also increase the risk of infection including poor maintenance of water systems leading to stagnant water; living in areas with old water systems, cooling towers or fountains; using electric water heaters, whirlpools and spas or hot water spring spas; and recent stays in hotels or vessels," the spokesman said.
     Legionellae are found in various environmental settings and grow well in warm water (20 to 45 degrees Celsius). They can be found in aqueous environments such as water tanks, hot and cold water systems, cooling towers, whirlpools and spas, water fountains and home apparatus which support breathing. People may become infected when they breathe in contaminated droplets (aerosols) and mist generated by artificial water systems, or when handling garden soil, compost and potting mixes.
     Immunocompromised persons should:

  • Use sterile or boiled water for drinking, tooth brushing and mouth rinsing;
  • Avoid using humidifiers, or other mist- or aerosol-generating devices. A shower may also generate small aerosols; and
  • If using humidifiers, or other mist- or aerosol-generating devices, fill the water tank with only sterile or cooled freshly boiled water, and not water directly from the tap. Also, clean and maintain humidifiers/devices regularly according to manufacturers' instructions. Never leave stagnant water in a humidifier/device. Empty the water tank, wipe all surfaces dry, and change the water daily.

    The public should observe the health advice below:

  • Observe personal hygiene;
  • Do not smoke and avoid alcohol consumption;
  • Strainers in water taps and shower heads should be inspected, cleaned, descaled and disinfected regularly or at a frequency recommended by the manufacturer;
  • If a fresh-water plumbing system is properly maintained, it is not necessary to install domestic water filters. Use of water filters is not encouraged as clogging occurs easily, which can promote growth of micro-organisms. In case water filters are used, the pore size should be 0.2 micrometres (µm) and the filter needs to be changed periodically according to the manufacturer's recommendations;
  • Drain and clean water tanks of buildings at least quarterly;
  • Drain or purge for at least one minute infrequently used water outlets (e.g. water taps, shower heads and hot water outlets) and stagnant points of the pipework weekly or before use;
  • Seek and follow doctors' professional advice regarding the use and maintenance of home respiratory devices and use only sterile water (not distilled or tap water) to clean and fill the reservoir. Clean and maintain the device regularly according to the manufacturer's instructions. After cleaning/disinfection, rinse the device with sterile water, cooled freshly boiled water or water filtered with 0.2 µm filters. Never leave stagnant water in the device. Empty the water tank, keep all surfaces dry, and change the water daily; and
  • When handling garden soil, compost and potting mixes:
  1. Wear gloves and a face mask;
  2. Water gardens and compost gently using low pressure;
  3. Open composted potting mixes slowly and make sure the opening is directed away from the face;
  4. Wet the soil to reduce dust when potting plants; and
  5. Avoid working in poorly ventilated places such as enclosed greenhouses.

     The public may visit the CHP's LD page, the Code of Practice for Prevention of LD and the Housekeeping Guidelines for Cold and Hot Water Systems for Building Management of the Prevention of LD Committee, and the CHP's risk-based strategy for prevention and control of LD.  

Appointments to the Youth Development Commission

     The Government announced today (March 30) the re-appointments of the Vice-Chairman and 31 non-official members, as well as the appointments of eight new members to the Youth Development Commission (YDC) for a term of two years with effect from April 1, 2020.
     The Chief Secretary for Administration and Chairman of the YDC, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said, “Since its establishment in 2018, the YDC has endeavoured to address young people’s concerns about education, career pursuit and home ownership, and to encourage their participation in politics as well as public policy discussion and debate. With members’ concerted efforts, the YDC has enhanced its various work, including nurturing talents, facilitating young people’s upward mobility and strengthening communication with young people.
     “To further enhance youth participation and facilitate the YDC to listen to young people’s views, the Government has appointed more young people to the YDC for the new term. The average age of the eight new members is 26. I look forward to working closely with all YDC members to jointly promote youth development in Hong Kong,” Mr Cheung emphasised.
     Mr Cheung also thanked the outgoing members, Ms Senia Ng Sze-nok and Ms Julia Poon Tsui-ying, for their contributions to the YDC.
     The membership of the YDC for the new term is as follows:
Chief Secretary for Administration
Mr Lau Ming-wai
Non-official Members (re-appointments)
Mr Mac Chan Ho-ting
Dr Catherine Chan Po-ling
Mr Jonathan Chan Pok-chi
Ms Chan Yuen-ting
Mr Cheng Chung-man
Mr Alex Cheng Hong-wun
Mr Alex Fan Hoi-kit
Mr Kenneth Fok Kai-kong
Mr Nicholas Ho Lik-chi
Dr Esther Ho Yuk-fan
Mr Andy Kwok Wing-leung
Ms Louise Kwong Lai-ling
Ms Nixie Lam Lam
Ms Serena Lau Sze-wan
Professor Gabriel Matthew Leung
Mr Clarence Leung Wang-ching
Mr Kenneth Leung Yuk-wai
Dr Kristen Li
Mr Duncan Ma Tak-yan
Mr Sam Ng Sum-chun
Mr Hendrick Sin
Mr Kyrus Siu King-wai
Ms Elizabeth Thong Lee-peng
Mr Alex Tou Yat-lung
Ms Ashley Tse Hiu-hung
Mr James Tsui Siu-lung
Dr Rizwan Ullah
Dr Isaac Yip Pui-lam
Mr Michael Yiu Kwok-wai
Mr Jeremy Young Chit-on
Ms Mary Yu Wah
Non-official Members (new appointments)
Mr Chris Lam Ka-tat
Mr Henry Lam Wah-shing
Ms Rebekah Lam Yan-yin
Ms Ingrid Lee Kwai-ha
Ms Cherry Lee Suet-yee
Ms Jay Mok Chi-yan
Mr Lucas Ngan Chun
Mr Victor Pang Wing-seng
Ex-officio Members
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development
Secretary for Education
Secretary for Food and Health
Secretary for Home Affairs
Secretary for Innovation and Technology
Secretary for Labour and Welfare
Secretary for Security
Secretary for Transport and Housing read more

Results of Estate Management Services Contractors Awards 2019 announced

The following is issued on behalf of the Hong Kong Housing Authority:

     The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) announced today (March 30) the results of the Estate Management Services Contractors Awards (EMSC Awards) 2019 to give due recognition to the outstanding performance of services contractors in managing the HA’s properties last year. The winning services contractors will be awarded trophies as commendation.
     The estates managed by the winners of the Best Public Rental Housing Estate (Property Services) (Large Estate) award are Choi Yuen Estate, Cheung Ching Estate and Kwai Fong Estate while the estates managed by the winners of the Best Public Rental Housing Estate (Property Services) (Small Estate) award are Po Heung Estate, Cheung Lung Wai Estate and Sheung Lok Estate.
     The HA holds the EMSC Awards annually and presents different awards. There are 43 awards under the EMSC Awards 2019, awarding to 14 property, cleansing and security services contractors and car park operators; seven estate managers; and 14 front-line staff (please see the attached table for details).

     The award winners were determined based on the combined scores given by the assessment panel, the Housing Department’s supervisory teams, the Management Assessment Scores, feedback from the Estate Management Advisory Committees and the results of random surveys conducted among residents.

     The HA has a stringent tendering system and an effective contract management mechanism to ensure quality and reliable services. The HA considers it important to maintain close communication with the services contractors. Seminars are held regularly to foster good communication and exchanges of views as well as to provide opportunities for the services contractors with good performance to share their valuable experience.

     Currently, the management of more than half of the HA’s public rental housing estates is outsourced to property services agents, and many major maintenance tasks in HA estates are being carried out by contractors. By leveraging the private sector’s resources and experience in managing private properties, the HA seeks to enhance the quality of management services for public housing estates and to provide a better living environment for its tenants. read more