Hong Kong officials review laboratory safety procedures

In view of current events on mainland China, The Centre for Health Protection's, Dr P Y Leung, today (April 27) called a meeting with representatives of the Department of Health (DH), Hospital Authority and universities to review laboratory safety procedures in Hong Kong.

Members agreed to review their safety practices, to ensure all laboratory personnel remain vigilant, to receive all necessary training and all laboratory work was undertaken at the appropriate biocontainment level.

Although current safety measures should be able to prevent laboratory personnel from virus infection, staff involved in handling SARS virus and with sickness will be closely monitored to further reduce the risk.

All "Biosafety Level 3 Laboratories" personnel have been reminded to inform DH promptly of any incident/accident of spillage and personal infection occurred during laboratory work involving SARS virus.

There are a total of eight laboratories in six locations involved with SARS virus testing, two of them are working with the live SARS virus.

In line with the recommendations of World Health Organisation, DH will maintain a registry of laboratories that are committed to safely and securely hold and work with SARS virus infected and/or potentially infected materials.

Subsequent to occurrence of SARS cases in the Mainland, DH sent out letters to private hospitals and laboratories again to remind them to adhere to guidelines in the "Precautions to Prevent Transmission of Infection in the Clinical Laboratory" which has been uploaded to DH website http://www.dh.gov.hk.

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