Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa confirmed
Monday at a press conference that the World Health
Organization has removed Hong Kong from its SARS-affected
WHO's decision resulted from Hong
Kong's 20th consecutive day on Sunday of no new SARS
infection, which means Hong Kong has met all of the UN
health agency's requirements.
Nominally, it came off the list of
local transmission places Sunday because the last confirmed
case in the territory was reported on June 2.
But since it was a Sunday, the World
Health Organization will only review the situation at 9 am
Monday Geneva time (which is 3 pm Hong Kong time) and make
an announcement on its official website.
Hong Kong came off the list in style,
scoring a "hat trick" of zero infections, deaths
and suspected cases at the same time. It was also the
seventh time the territory has recorded zero infections and
deaths, as well as the 11th consecutive day of nil
infections since the outbreak in early March.
The cumulative number of SARS cases
remains at 1,755 and deaths at 296. So far, 1,410 patients
have been discharged, including two discharged Sunday.
There are still 28 patients under
treatment in hospitals, of whom 11 are in intensive care
wards and another 21 who are recovering and waiting for
On the eve of
"delisting", Secretary for Economic Development
& Labor Stephen Ip visited the Metropole Hotel where an
index patient had stayed in late February.
Apart from having lunch there, Ip also
inspected the room on the ninth floor where the index
patient lived to convey the message that hotels are safe
He disclosed that the number of
mainland visitors has rebounded to an average 15,000 per day
since early June and that was higher than the figures the
same time last year.
He also said he
would announce a series of economic relaunch measures as
soon as Hong Kong was cleared as an affected area Monday.
In related news, Dr. Cheng Ha-yan from
Tai Po Hospital, who died of SARS after contracting the
disease from patients without obvious symptoms, was buried
Cheng, 30, was commemorated
with the highest degrees of honors -- buried in Gallant
Garden, a permanent cemetery reserved for public officers
who lost their lives during official duties.
Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, together
with a number of top government and Hospital Authority
officials and healthcare workers attended the funeral
service in the morning prior to the burial.