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About HKCFP > President’s Message

September 2020

The daily newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 seemed to be dropping down to double digits or even single digit in recent couple of weeks. The social distancing rules are being adjusted and relaxed gradually. Despite the relaxation of rules, it is still not the time to let our guards down. Experts had predicted that there would be subsequent waves later during the winter months. Good practice of personal and environmental hygiene should be maintained at all times to prevent the spread of the virus.

In order to identify silent carriers of the coronavirus in the community and break the potential infection chain, the government launched the Universal Community Testing Programme for COVID-19 on 1 September 2020. Our College has been invited to recruit members to help in contributing towards the delivery of the testing service at the centres. Further to my invitation messages to you recently, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your kindest, enthusiastic and prompt responses in supporting the programme – demonstrating the very important role of family doctors in the frontline!

By the second day of its launch, over 700,000 people had registered online for the voluntary free testing, and some of the initial 141 test centres spread across the city’s 18 districts were fully booked to their full capacities. In view of the overwhelming response, at the time of writing, the government has announced to extend the programme to 14 September 2020 in some of the selected centres to cater for the ongoing needs. Asymptomatic patients can be identified by the test and after confirmation, they would be assessed and triaged to receive isolation and treatment at the Community Isolation Facility (CIF) and Community Treatment Facility (CTF). The pressure caused by the high demand for in-patient services from hospitals can therefore be relieved. In addition to the Universal Community Testing Programme launched by the Government, the public can also choose to have the COVID-19 testing at private clinics, private hospitals and public sector.

As mentioned previously, the “Enhanced Laboratory Surveillance (ELS) Programme” has been up and running for a few months now. While the private family doctor colleagues are actively contributing towards the ELS Tiers 5–7, and colleagues in the public sector are helping with the ELS Tiers 1 and 4 in the public outpatient settings, the recent addition of ELS Tier 7 H to distribute Deep Throat Saliva (DTS) specimen collection packs to individuals who perceived themselves to have a higher risk of exposure to the COVID-19 infection has been extended for 3 more months with effect from 24 August 2020.

The current pandemic has changed the daily routines and lifestyles of many people. Our imminent task at present is to contain the epidemic by cutting off the transmission chain as soon as possible, so that gradual relaxation of restriction measures would be feasible to facilitate recovery of at least some of our usual routines. However, some of the new routines have been developed because of COVID-19, such as wearing surgical masks, cleansing our hands regularly, and maintaining personal and environmental hygiene, would very likely to remain for some time, even after the pandemic is over. We have to equip ourselves and our patients well for the changes under the “new normal” amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The first ever digital Hong Kong Primary Care Conference is just around the corner. We are extremely privileged to have many renowned speakers sharing with us in this year’s Conference, including Prof. David Hui, Prof. Donald Li, Prof. Cindy Lam, and Prof. Terry Lum, just to name a few. In addition to the plenary lectures and discussion forums, a series of clinical seminars and workshops are organised alongside various competitions in research papers, clinical cases, and free paper presentations. See you online soon from 11th – 13th September 2020!

Dr. David V K CHAO