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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06HONGKONG2199 2006-05-26 09:12:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Hong Kong
Cable title:  

HKG On Indonesia AI Cases, Business Continuity

Tags:   AMED ECON KSTH TBIO KFLU EAGR HK CH 
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VZCZCXRO8808
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHHK #2199/01 1460912
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 260912Z MAY 06
FM AMCONSUL HONG KONG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6920
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HONG KONG 002199 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/ANP AND INR/EAP
STATE FOR EAP/EX, EAP/EP TWANG, EAP/CM KBENNETT, GWARD
STATE FOR G/AIAG JLANGE, HFOSTER, RFENDRICK
STATE FOR M/MED ADN M/MEDEX PETER WOOD
HHS FOR OGHA -- STEIGER, ELVANDER, BHAT
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC
USDA FO DU/US LAMBERT
BEIJING FOR DSELIGSOHN, CSHAPIRO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMED ECON KSTH TBIO KFLU EAGR HK CH
SUBJECT: HKG On Indonesia AI Cases, Business Continuity
Plans


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY.



1. (SBU) Summary: Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection
(CHP) Controller Dr. P.Y. Leung told Econoff that a
preliminary Hong Kong Government (HKG) analysis of a
reported cluster of human H5N1 avian influenza (AI) cases in
Indonesia found only minor changes to the virus. Leung said
that the HKG is waiting for an analysis of the extent of
contact between individual cases in the cluster. Unless
there is evidence that the humans can now transmit the virus
to others with less contact and greater efficiency, the HKG
is "not too worried" about the situation. Leung also
informed Econoff that the HKG will reverse its previous
policy and start advising private sector corporations to
stockpile anti-viral medication, including oseltamivir
(Tamiflu). This new policy is part of an ongoing HKG effort
to encourage the formation of business continuity plans in
private sector companies and organizations in Hong Kong. End
Summary

AI Cluster in Indonesia


--------------------------





2. (SBU) On May 24, the World Health Organization (WHO)
announced that the eight-person cluster of AI cases recently
discovered in Indonesia may have been caused by human-to-
human transmission. CHP Controller Dr. P.Y. Leung told
Econoff that the HKG had completed a preliminary analysis of
the virus samples from the Indonesian cluster and had found
only minor changes in the genetic structure of the virus.
Although there seemed to be no genetic evidence of a
mutation in the virus that would allow it to be transmitted
efficiently between humans, the size of the cluster and the
possibility that infections had occurred with relatively low
levels of contact between patients were causes for concern.
Leung affirmed that as long as there are no further related
cases in the next three weeks, the HKG will "not be too
worried" about the situation.

Tamiflu for Companies


--------------------------





3. (SBU) Leung went on to inform Econoff that the HKG is
planning to reverse its long-standing policy on discouraging
private stockpiles of anti-viral medications and start
urging private sector corporations in Hong Kong to stockpile
various anti-viral medications, including Tamiflu. Roche is
now producing enough Tamiflu to meet both government
requests (including a newly planned HKG purchase of "several
million" tablets) and burgeoning corporate sector demand for
the anti-viral medication.



4. (SBU) The CHP will publish HKG guidelines for the
purchase and use of anti-viral medications, including
suggestions that the anti-virals mostly be kept for
treatment of pandemic flu cases. Leung noted that only
doctors would be allowed to purchase the new stocks of
Tamiflu; this move does not mean that the medication will be
more widely available to the general public. Leung said
that the HKG is also in the process of purchasing
amantadine, a flu medication that has proven to be effective
in fighting H5N1 infections when used together with Tamiflu.

Business Continuity Plans


--------------------------





5. (SBU) This new policy is part of an ongoing CHP effort to
encourage private sector corporations and managers of
essential services (power generation, transport, etc.) to
develop robust and realistic business continuity plans.
Earlier in May, the HKG strongly supported a Hong Kong Trade
Development Council/APEC Business Advisory Council organized
"Conference on Business Continuity Planning and Disaster
Preparedness for Avian Influenza." At the meeting, APEC
Health Task Force Vice-Chair Dr. Li Shichuo noted that a
recent informal American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong
survey had found that almost 60% of the companies surveyed
had a designated action officer for AI preparedness and
clearly stated, realistic plans of action. In contrast, Li
said, a recent Deloitte & Touche survey of businesses in the

HONG KONG 00002199 002 OF 002


U.S. found that approximately two-thirds of the companies
surveyed did not have specific plans or designated action
officers.



6. (SBU) Hospital Authority Deputy Director Dr. Liu Shao
Haei also highlighted the importance of having good business
continuity plans, pointing out that in an actual pandemic
situation it would take the international community between
12-18 months to produce enough vaccine to affect the course
of the pandemic. Liu said that right now, the most
important aspect of pandemic planning for the HKG is
surveillance. He said that the HKG takes the following
factors into account when conducting AI surveillance:
Fever, Travel History, Occupation (exposure to birds?),
Contact with other patients, and whether they are part of a
Cluster. Liu asserted that a properly working surveillance
system was much more important than building large
stockpiles of anti-viral medications - "Silence causes fear;
silence causes harm!"

CUNNINGHAM