The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (April 20) announced that its Port Health Office (PHO) would require all inbound aircraft from affected areas of Zika Virus Infection to conduct aircraft disinsection to prevent the importation of diseases through infected mosquitoes. The new requirement will start from noon on April 26.
"The Ad-hoc Advisory Group on aircraft disinsection for controlling the international spread of vector-borne diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier recommended Member States to consider conducting aircraft disinsection based on risk assessment as one of the effective measures against Zika. With reference to overseas experience, we will introduce this new requirement which aims at reducing the risk of importation of Aedes aegypti, the Zika vector currently not found in Hong Kong, via air traffic, as a prudent measure to better protect public health. So far, no local Zika cases have been recorded in Hong Kong," a spokesman for the CHP said.
According to the new requirement, for flights coming from Zika-affected areas, i.e. countries/areas in Category 1 or 2 classified by the WHO that are considered to have ongoing Zika virus transmission, airlines/aircraft operators are required to provide the PHO with a declaration of aircraft disinsection as well as flight details and information on disinsection practice. The PHO will request operators practising regular disinsection to provide documentary proof and/or empty insecticide cans.
As for aircraft without proof of disinsection, the PHO will require the airlines/aircraft operators concerned to carry out on-arrival disinsection. The WHO's classification table of Zika-affected areas has been uploaded to the CHP's webpage for easy reference.
Any airline/aircraft operator which fails to submit the declaration of aircraft disinsection may contravene section 49(1) of the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation (Cap 599A) and is liable on conviction to a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for six months. Pursuant to section 49(2), the person who signs or countersigns the declaration shall also ensure that the information contained in the declaration is not false in a material particular, and a person who knowingly contravenes this is liable on conviction to a fine of $10,000 and imprisonment for six months.
"We have been working closely with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department for expertise on pest control. The PHO has issued technical guidelines and conducted briefings for the Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre, passenger/cargo airlines and aircraft operators on the new requirement. We will continue to maintain liaison with the Airport Authority Hong Kong and the aviation sector in introducing the new requirement," the spokesman added.
Ends/Thursday, April 20, 2017
Issued at HKT 15:00