The following press release was issued by the Department of Health on 24 March 2005:
Scaling down border health screening measures
Hong Kong will further scale down health screening measures at all land and sea immigration control points (ICPs) starting from April 1, a spokesman for the Department of Health (DH) said today (March 24).
"The decision was made after careful assessment of the threat of the resurgence of SARS in Hong Kong and the neighbouring areas," the spokesman said.
As Hong Kong has been free from SARS since June 2003 and there was no SARS report in the neighbouring areas for more than one year, the spokesman said it is appropriate to further adjust Hong Kong's existing border health measures to reflect the actual situation.
With effect from April 1, temperature screening at land and sea ICPs would be stopped by phases.
"However, a health post will still be maintained at each ICP to assist travelers and distribute health education leaflets to the public according to seasonal disease pattern.
"Posters will also be put up and health messages will be displayed at these ICPs," the spokesman added.
Given the concurrent occurrence of infectious diseases outbreaks including avian influenza and meningococcal infection in some Asian countries, the spokesman said temperature screening for inbound travellers at the Hong Kong International Airport will continue.
The spokesman stressed that the DH will continue to monitor closely any re-emergence of SARS in neighbouring areas and other countries. The Auxiliary Medical Service will be ready to support the DH to resume body temperature screening when necessary.