As part of the response to the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the health promotion activities in Hong Kong are in full swing with 11 sessions conducted since February. Our team has reached out to ethnic minorities, migrants and asylum seekers, street cleaners, visually impaired persons, foreign domestic helpers, homeless people and people living in subdivided flats.
Meanwhile, the 1 tonne donation of personal protective equipment has been received by Hong Kong St. John Ambulance on Thursday, 5 March. The shipment contains protective suits, shoe covers, face shields, goggles, N95 and surgical masks, gloves and gowns. In addition, another 11,000 pairs of gloves were also donated to the organisation.
The Wuhan Jinyintan hospital in Hubei province has also received the donation of 3.5 tonnes of personal protective equipment on Saturday, 29 February. The team is also looking into other ways of providing support to the outbreak response aside from the donation of much-needed, specialised medical protective equipment for frontline health workers.
Further afield, in other countries where MSF is working, teams are preparing in case of an outbreak of COVID-19. In several countries, predominantly in south and southeast Asia, MSF is in contact with the health authorities and offering support should it be needed. This includes training of health workers on infection prevention and control measures and health education for vulnerable and at-risk groups, similar to MSF’s activities in 2003 during the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), caused by a related type of coronavirus.
In 2003, MSF teams worked in Hanoi, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China to support the respective health authorities to combat SARS. MSF’s activities included training health workers on infection control and prevention in hospitals, providing medical protective equipment, running health education sessions and offering psychological support.