Protecting yourself against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

[Updated on 27 March 2020]

To ensure the safety of our patients, staff and visitors, Gleneagles Hospital Hong Kong has been implementing various precautionary measures against the COVID-19 infection in response to the different response levels activated by the Hong Kong Government.  Under the current Emergency Response Level, we have introduced the following measures for patients and visitors who plan to visit our hospital.

  

  • Visiting hours : 10:00-12:00 ; 18:00–20:00
      
  • Visit limit: 2 persons at a time    
      
  • Only the main entrance on ground floor and the entrance at 24-hour Outpatient and Emergency Department are open for access. All other entrances and exits are closed.   
      
  • Access from carpark is limited to one entrance at Tower A only.   
      
  • All persons entering the hospital are required to receive temperature and travel history screening at the designated entrances.
            
  • All persons entering the hospital are required to provide travel history and contact information for contact tracing purpose when necessary.    
      
  • According to Centre of Health Protection’s (CHP) instruction, patients who fulfill the reporting criteria will be reported to the CHP and patients will be transferred to the designated hospitals under the Hospital Authority for further clinical management. 
      
  • If you have fever or respiratory symptoms, and visited a location with active community transmission of COVID-19* 14 days before onset of the symptoms, or have been in contact with suspected or confirmed cases, please visit a Hospital Authority hospital directly for medical consultation.
    *Please refer to the list of places with active community transmission from the webpage of Centre for Health Protection.
       
  • All persons who have travelled to a location with active community transmission of COVID-19* in the past 14 days should not visit the hospital and follow Government's relevant quarantine arrangements.
    *Please refer to the list of places with active community transmission from the webpage of Centre for Health Protection. 
          
  • Sick persons, children under 12 years of age, and pregnant women are not recommended to visit the hospital.  
      
  • Maintain good personal and hand hygiene practices.
      
  • Wear a surgical mask when you are in the hospital.

  

In addition to staying alert to updates and health advice issued by the HKSAR Government and relevant health authorities, maintaining good personal and environmental hygiene is of utmost importance to protect yourselves from COVID-19. 

Perform hand hygiene properly

  • Performing hand hygiene is the prerequisite of the prevention of the spread of communicable diseases. Using soap and water or alcohol-based handrub can achieve hand hygiene.
        
  • When to perform hand hygiene?
    • Before and after touching eyes, nose and mouth;
    • Before eating and preparing food;
    • After using the toilet;
    • When hands are contaminated by respiratory secretions;
    • After changing diapers or handling soiled items from children or the sick;
    • After touching animals, poultry or their droppings;
    • After handling garbage;
    • After touching public installations;
    • Before and after visiting hospitals; and
    • Anytime when you find your hands are dirty.
         
  • Clean hands with liquid soap and water when hands are visibly dirty or visibly soiled with blood and body fluid and after using the toilet.
      
  • When hands are not visibly soiled, hand hygiene with 70-80% alcohol-based handrub is also an effective alternative.  Always check the expiry date before purchasing and using alcohol-based handrub.
       
  • Steps for hand hygiene:
  1. Hand hygiene with liquid soap and water:
    • Wet your hands with water and add liquid soap.
    • Follow the 7 steps of hand hygiene technique to rub your palms, back of hands, finger webs, back of fingers, thumbs, finger tips, and then wrists, for at least 20 seconds.
    • Rinse with water and dry them with either a clean cotton towel or a paper towel.
    • The cleaned hands should not touch the water tap directly again.
          
  2. Hand hygiene with alcohol-based handrub:
    • Use a palmful of handrub to cover all surfaces of the hands.
    • Rub your hands according to the 7 steps for at least 20 seconds until your hands are dry.
    • Let the alcohol dry on your hands, do not wipe it off with paper towel.  


Use mask properly

  • You should wear a surgical mask if you have respiratory infection or when visiting clinics or hospitals during epidemic.
      
  • Choose an appropriate mask which should fit snugly over your face.
      
  • Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning. Perform hand hygiene before putting on a mask and after touching the mask.
      
  • Most surgical masks adopt a three-layer design which includes an outer fluid-repelling layer, a middle layer serves as a barrier to germs, and an inner moisture-absorbing layer.
      
  • Mask without the above functions is not recommended as it cannot provide adequate protection against infectious diseases transmitted by respiratory droplets.
      
  • Steps to put on a surgical mask:
    • The two coloured side or the side with folds facing downwards of the surgical mask should face outwards with the metallic strip uppermost.
    • For tie-on surgical mask, secure upper ties at the crown of head. Then secure lower ties at the nape. For ear-loops type, position the elastic bands around both ears.
    • Extend the surgical mask to fully cover mouth, nose and chin.
    • Mould the metallic strip over nose bridge and the surgical mask should fit snugly over the face.
           
  • Avoid touching the surgical mask after wearing. Otherwise, you should perform hand hygiene.
      
  • Avoid touching the outside of surgical mask during taking-off as it may be covered with germs.
      
  • After taking off the mask, discard in a lidded rubbish bin and perform hand hygiene immediately.
       
  • Change surgical mask timely. Disposable mask should not be reused. Replace the mask immediately if it is damaged or soiled.


Maintain good personal hygiene

  • Maintain good indoor ventilation.
      
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
       
  • Maintain drainage pipes properly and pour half a litre of water into each drain outlet (U-traps) once a week. 

Before departure

  • Prepare adequate surgical masks and 70% to 80% alcohol-based handrub.
       
  • If feeling unwell with respiratory symptoms, put on a surgical mask and seek medical advice immediately; postpone your trip until recovery.
        
  • Do not travel to countries or areas where community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring.


While travelling

  • Cooperate with port health authorities and comply with all necessary immigration procedures and health checks at destinations.
       
  • Avoid close contact with persons with fever or respiratory symptoms in countries or areas with possible community transmission of COVID-19 infection.
      
  • Avoid visiting wet markets, live poultry markets or farms.
      
  • Avoid touching animals, poultry/birds or their droppings.
      
  • Do not consume game meat and do not patronise food premises where game meat is served.
       
  • Adhere to food safety and hygiene rules such as avoiding consuming raw or undercooked animal products which may be contaminated by animal secretions or excretions.
      
  • Watch out for changes in health condition during the trip. If feeling unwell, especially if experiencing a fever or cough, wear a surgical mask, inform the hotel staff or tour leader/ tour guide and seek medical advice at once.


After returning home

  • Take heed of the latest travel advice (including health advice for Hong Kong residents returning from the Mainland).
       
  • Observe the Government’s regulation to undergo mandatory quarantine for 14 days upon arrival if you enter Hong Kong from the Mainland.
       
  • Consult a doctor promptly if experiencing a fever or other symptoms and inform the doctor of your recent travel history and other relevant details to facilitate effective diagnosis and treatment.
  • Stay at home if got sick and minimise contact with others.
      
  • Minimise unnecessary social contacts and avoid visiting crowded places.
      
  • Maintain at least one-metre distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever.
      
  • Observe good food safety practice. Cook food thoroughly and avoid consumption of raw or undercooked animal products.  Use serving utensils at meal times.

Frequently-asked Questions


* Latest updates

Symptoms

According to information provided by the Mainland health authorities, symptoms of the cases include fever, malaise, dry cough and shortness of breath. 

No. The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults. However, children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms. Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. It’s not known yet whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness, for example, children with underlying medical conditions and special healthcare needs. There is much more to be learned about how the disease impacts children.

Mode of Transmission

The main mode of transmission of COVID-19 is through respiratory droplets, and the virus can also be transmitted through contact.

Current information suggests that the incubation period ranges from 1 to 12.5 days, but can be as long as 14 days.

Yes, the COVID-19 causes respiratory disease and can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient.

According to the current scientific knowledge, there is no evidence indicating that human can be infected by the COVID-19 via food. However, World Health Organization recommends that people should always observe personal, food and environmental hygiene to ensure food safety.

You should restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. It is still recommended that people sick with COVID-19 limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you are sick with COVID-19, avoid contact with your pet, including petting, snuggling, being kissed or licked, and sharing food. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a facemask.

Understanding the time when infected patients may spread the virus to others is critical for control efforts. Detailed medical information from people infected is needed to determine the infectious period of COVID-19. According to recent reports, it may be possible that people infected with COVID-19 may be infectious before showing significant symptoms.  However, based on currently available data, the people who have symptoms are causing the majority of virus spread.

A study found that coronaviruses typically survive longer and stay active longer at lower temperatures in a dry environment.

It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).

If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

When people sneeze or cough, they may spray big droplets but the droplets do not stay suspended in the air for long. They fall. Health care procedures like intubation can spray small droplets into the air. Bigger droplets fall quickly. Smaller ones fall less quickly.

We know about environmental contamination for MERS-CoV and finding RNA in air filtration systems (but not the live virus). However, for the new coronavirus, we still need to see the data and understand how transmission has been assessed.

Risks and impacts

While we still need to learn more about how COVID-19 affects people, thus far, older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes and heart disease) appear to be more at risk of developing severe disease.

According to the latest information provided by the World Health Organization, in China, more than 80% of COVID-19 patients have mild disease and will recover. It also appears that COVID-19 is not as deadly as other coronaviruses including SARS and MERS. In about 14% of cases, the virus causes severe disease, including pneumonia and shortness of breath, and about 5% of patients have critical disease including respiratory failure, septic shock and multi-organ failure. 

According to the Centre for Health Protection, as at 10am on 27 March 2020, the number of affected countries/areas: 202, cumulative number of confirmed cases: at least 486,753 cases, cumulative number of deaths among confirmed cases: at least 22,538 deaths.

Both Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), are respiratory tract disease caused by coronavirus. The former carries a death rate of about 9.6% while that of the latter exceeds one third.

A People of all ages can be infected by the COVID-19. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. People of all ages are advised to take steps to protect themselves from the virus by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.

Preventive measures

  • Perform hand hygiene properly and frequently, especially before touching eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Maintain respiratory etiquette and cough manners;
  • Stay at home if got sick and minimise contact with others;
  • Stay away from possible sources of infection;
  • Minimise unnecessary social contacts and avoid visiting crowded places; and
  • Avoid close contact with the infected persons.

The following measures ARE NOT effective against COVID-2019 and can be harmful:

  • Smoking
  • Taking traditional herbal remedies
  • Wearing multiple masks
  • Taking self-medication such as antibiotics

f your hands are not visibly soiled, you can use 70 to 80% alcohol-based handrub. Use sufficient amount, around 3 to 5 ml of alcohol-based handrub to cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your palms, then back of hands, finger webs, back of fingers, thumbs, finger tips, and then wrists for at least 20 seconds until your hands are dry. Let the alcohol dry on your hands, do not wipe it off with paper towel.

U-traps serve to stop foul smells and unhygienic substances including bacteria and viruses in the drainage system from entering living areas. Defective or dried U-traps could negate this important function. Pour half a litre of water into each drain outlet every week. You should also regularly inspect your drainage pipes, U-traps and sanitary fittings and arrange immediate repair if damage is found. 

No, spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body, but spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). 

No, vaccines against pneumonia do not provide protection against the COVID-19. The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against COVID-19. 

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus COVID-19. However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimised supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. 

zone irritates the eyes and respiratory tract. It can cause serious damage to the lung if inhaled in high concentrations.

If used at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone applied to indoor air does not effectively remove viruses, bacteria, mold, or other biological pollutants.

References

Please visit the websites of Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health and World Health Organisations for more information on COVID-19 and relevant guidelines.


Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health

World Health Organization

Sources: Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health, World Health Organization