Letter from Damien Mouellic, President HKOA:
Dear HKOA Members,
As we monitor the situation and impacts of the coronavirus in Hong Kong and globally, it is becoming increasingly crucial for everyone to implement some form of preventative measures to contain the spread.
In Hong Kong, there has been a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases over the last few days and unfortunately, this number will continue rising unless we take a stand as a community. Businesses around the world are implementing measures and being in the health & wellness industry, it is even more important for us to lead by example.
If possible, I highly recommend closing your clinic or if you are a practitioner, closing your schedules for at least 1 week or work on reduced hours. I strongly believe that if we pull together at this crucial time and do our part, we can make a difference. This may not be traditional decision but then again, this isn’t business as usual.
Here are some recommendations of preventative measures that you should implement at your clinics if you decide to remain open:
- All staff, practitioners & patients are required to wear a mask. If masks are not available, provide one if possible
- Every patient must use hand sanitizer (or wash their hands) upon arrival to the clinic. Similarly, practitioners should wash their hands after each patient
- Temperature of each patient should be recorded upon their arrival. Any patient showing flu-like symptoms should be requested to leave and consult a doctor
- Temperature of staff should be taken upon arrival to the clinic
- Prior to booking an appointment, confirm with your patient that they have not travelled in the last 14 days. This includes any family members or close contacts. As you will be well aware, anyone that has travelled is required to undergo a mandatory home quarantine for 14 days
- Upon arrival, patients should be required to fill out a form indicating their recent travel history. This is an extra protective measure
- Disinfect high traffic areas such as: doorknobs, taps, reception and/or pantry counters, telephones, card machines and laptop/computer keyboards
Here are some recommendations you can make to your patients:
- Avoid all non-essential travel. If possible, avoid using public transport especially during peak hours
- Stay at home if you are sick and experiencing flu-like symptoms.
- Practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings, dinners, parties etc
- Wash your hands frequently – 20 seconds with soap and water as per recommendations of health officials. If soap and water are not available, please use hand sanitizer
- Cover your cough and/or sneeze. Use a tissue and then dispose of it safely followed by washing your hands
- Keep your homes well ventilated
- Clean your phone especially if you have gone outside
- Although the general recommendation is to stay at home, this may not be feasible. In case you do need to go outside, wear a mask especially in crowded areas. Also wear a mask if you are interacting with someone that is sick or if you feel sick yourself. Don’t forget to dispose of your mask safely and wash your hands after
As a general guideline for all practitioners:
- Please urge all your patients, staff and practitioners to stay at home if they or a family member has travelled in the last 14 days
- Please ensure that you book appointments only AFTER enquiring on the travel history of your patients and confirming that they have been symptom-free for 14 days
- If any of your patients, staff or practitioners experiences any flu-like symptoms during or after 14 days of travel OR even if they have no travel history, encourage them to consult a doctor immediately
With the rise in cases in Hong Kong, the next few days are crucial. It is our responsibility as a community to work together to contain the spread of the virus, avoid potentially overwhelming our health system and flatten the curve. Hong Kong has been recognized as one of the countries that has handled the coronavirus outbreak well considering the proximity to the China border which is a great sign of the impact of a community effort.
I urge all of you to stay educated on the latest developments, share factual information and make the best decision for yourself and your patients.
I wish the best of health to you, your family and loved ones.