Dear Members of HKUGA,
It is with regret that Hong Kong is under the threat of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) which has brought the people in Hong Kong and other affected areas the risk of lives, and the test of confidence and faith. While wishing you and your family members and friends every health, HKUGA would like to convey our deepest sympathy to infected people in Hong Kong and other affected areas and wish them on the path of recovery soonest.
Amid the risk of infection before a curable medical diagnosis is found, HKUGA appeals to our members to take every precautionary measure at home and at offices and to show our concerns to people around us, including your family members, your friends, your business associates in Hong Kong and overseas, and the community at large.
Yet, we encourage you, as key members of Hong Kong to embrace positive views. The experience in Hong Kong suggests that pending further medical diagnosis, treatment of SARS with a combination of Ribavirin and Steroids is successful, and this has now become standard therapy worldwide. While it is with deep regret that some people die from the disease and the death rate remains at around 3.9% so far, on the positive side, the survival rate is 96.1%. Even though some fit, healthy young people have died from the disease, over 70% of deaths have occurred in people who are either old or who have a serious chronic illness or both. Hence, even assuming that there will be 1,500 infected persons in some 7 million people in Hong Kong, the chance of getting the disease will only be one in 4,667 people. The chance of dying from the disease will be one in some 120,000 people. If you are young and healthy, the chance of dying from the disease will only be one in 360,000 people. On the other hand, for a common disease such as Influenza (flu), about 99 people die of flu every day in the USA and 20 of these die because of acute respiratory problems secondary to flu. Since SARS is a new disease, there is a fear of the unknown which we and the community should take positive actions to address and overcome together.
In view of the various challenges Hong Kong is facing, instead of expressing sheer grievances and dissatisfaction, HKUGA believes that our members and people in Hong Kong could demonstrate our usual Hong Kong spirit – a vision to turn risks into opportunities; a determination to ride through difficulties; and a heart to extend appreciation and assistance. The SARS threat has brought us the opportunity to see the beauty in mankind, which is manifested especially in the hospitals and universities, international health organizations, concerned government bodies, and the caring community. Equally, despite under immense pressure of time, we see the opportunity of breakthrough in medical diagnosis which will hopefully curb the spread of disease and save the lives of people. Most important of all, it is important for all of us to uphold our solidarity, our perseverance, our faith, our confidence, and our determination to win over the disease and the various challenges in Hong Kong.
We believe the future is ahead of us. With the efforts and winning spirit of all, HKUGA is confident that we are going to see a prosperous and healthy Hong Kong in the near future.
HKUGA will continue to monitor the situation closely. For more information and latest developments of SARS, you may refer to the following websites:
http://www.who.int/csr/sars/en/ (World Health Organization (WHO) - SARS information)
http://www.who.int/csr/sars/sarsfaq/en/ (WHO - Frequently asked questions)
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/sars/ (Center of Disease Control (CDC) -SARS information)
http://www.info.gov.hk/dh/ap.htm (Department of Health of HKSAR Government - SARS information)
With best regards,