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Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Neurological Emergencies

C1.1 A Review of Infection Control Measures for COVID-19

Dr Leo Lui
Associate Consultant,
Infection Control Branch,
Centre for Health Protection

Dr Leo Lui started his training as a physician and obtained his fellowship in Clinical Microbiology and Infection in 2015. He is currently working in the field of Infection Control in Centre for Health Protection. His main areas of work include developing protocols of proper use of antibiotic, infection prevention and infectious diseases management. He provides infection control-related advice to government bureaus and departments, such as setting up of quarantine facilities, specimen collection centres and minimum requirements on personal protective equipment (PPE) related to COVID-19. Dr Lui gave talks to primary care doctors on antibiotic stewardship and helped develop electronic learning on antibiotic use in public hospitals.

The onslaught of COVID-19 has caught all of us by surprise. Few infectious diseases known to humans have such a cunning nature as COVID-19, with high transmissibility in the asymptomatic or presymptomatic period, and typically causes a mild clinical presentation except in the high-risk groups such as the elderly. Together with the fact that none of us had immunity against this novel virus, the battle seems to have been lost even before it begins. Fortunately, our infection prevention and control awareness has greatly enhanced since the time of previous pandemics of SARS and human swine influenza. We now know that COVID-19 is mainly spread by droplet and contact routes, with opportunistic airborne transmission possible under special circumstances. Amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic, we should wash our hands often, observe cough manners, use personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriately, keep our home and work environment clean, properly maintain the ventilation and sewage system. Public health measures in the community targeting COVID-19 include hand hygiene, widespread use of surgical mask, social (physical) distancing, temperature screening, quarantine of close contacts and returned travellers, early testing and isolation of confirmed cases. A multi-pronged approach consisting of effective infection control measures would help to limit the progression of COVID-19 and buy invaluable time for our healthcare system to cope and for vaccines to arrive.

Conclusion: Appropriate infection control practices can slow the transmission and protect us from the novel coronavirus infection.

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