To combat the fifth wave of the epidemic, all government departments are fully committed to the anti-epidemic efforts. Since the onset of the epidemic, the Government has been tirelessly identifying suitable venues for departments, contractors or social welfare organisations (SWOs) to operate centres for anti-epidemic purposes. This time, I have invited a colleague of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) and a representative of SWOs to share with us what it is like to combat the epidemic in Hong Kong at the frontline.
EMSD inspecting more than 200 venues
After the Government has identified possible venues for anti-epidemic use, the EMSD under the Development Bureau will assess the venues and offer professional advice on whether they are suitable to be turned into isolation facilities. Since the outbreak of the fifth wave of the epidemic at the beginning of this year, EMSD colleagues have inspected the ventilation systems and electrical and mechanical (E & M) equipment of more than 200 venues. The EMSD has converted or enhanced related equipment at some of the venues (e.g. sports centres) so that they are suitable to be used as community isolation facilities (CIFs). Moreover, EMSD colleagues provide round-the-clock emergency repair services for E & M equipment at the venues so that their operation will not be interrupted.
Adjustment of central air distribution systems
To alleviate the demand pressure on public hospital beds, the Government has set up holding centres for the elderly to be used as community isolation facilities. After professional assessment has been made regarding the suitability of the venues, enhancement or conversion works will then be conducted. Engineer (Municipal/Kowloon) of the EMSD, Mr CHUNG Kim-chuen, says that they will carry out enhancement or conversion works for the venues, such as enhancement of power supply equipment and conversion of central air conditioning systems. He explains that, because the air conditioning systems of these venues mainly operate as an indoor air circulation system, if they are turned into holding centres, fresh air will have to be drawn in from outside to be cooled. The used air will then be filtered directly or disinfected before discharge. Therefore, colleagues will install disinfection equipment at the exhaust outlets of the air-conditioning systems. Moreover, the relative air pressure in the venues have to be at a slightly negative or equalised level to ensure compliance with the guidelines of the Centre for Health Protection.
Swift support from Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society Kowloon
At the holding centre for the elderly at Shek Kip Mei Park Sports Centre, there are around 180 beds to provide care services mainly for elderly patients tested preliminarily positive or those who have mild symptoms. Chief Executive of Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society Kowloon (Lok Sin Tong), Ms LAU Oi-sze, says that a 60-people medical and nursing team have been set up in three days, which is tasked to take care of elderly patients by providing them with basic meals and care-related services. Most of these patients come from elderly homes, or are elderly singletons or doubletons who live with their family members. Since they are confirmed patients, they have different needs in terms of prescription medicine and care. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Lok Sin Tong for its swift support in operating the holding centre.
Ventilation conversion works completed in three days
As the holding centre at Shek Kip Mei is originally a sports centre, turning it into a venue for elderly care has required some changes to be made and assistance from various government departments. To give us an example, Ms LAU Oi-sze says that the EMSD only took three days to complete the conversion of ventilation equipment at the centre to meet anti-epidemic requirements. Although the epidemic situation has subsided a little recently, there may still be fluctuations. The setting up of elderly holding centres can provide swift support to the elderly who are in need of urgent medical services or urgent medical support.
The fifth wave is rapid and fierce. In the face of the extremely severe situation, the SAR Government has been working together as a team and kept firmly in mind that it is our responsibility to win the battle against the epidemic. Apart from Government initiatives, we have also gathered forces in society, showing concerted efforts among the government, private companies and the public in fighting the epidemic. As such, there are more than enough rooms, vaccines and beds for people in Hong Kong. Here, I would like to thank colleagues and all members of society for their cooperation so that Hong Kong can get out of the epidemic as soon as possible.
1 May, 2022Back