Guidelines on prevention of SARS in the Hall (for hall residents)


Other than the general measures to be introduced by the SARS Task Force, the following hall additional preventive measures will be implemented, based on the experience of last encounter:

  1. At all major entrances, the door mats will be soaked with disinfectant at frequent intervals to ensure all shoes are cleaned upon arrival;
  2. Thermometers are available for loan at the Hall Reception Counter to facilitate residents' temperature check;
  3. Surgical masks are available for collection at Hall Reception and hall access control points;
  4. Alcohol spray will be installed at the major entrances in the Hall;
  5. Student rooms have been equipped with cleaning utensils to facilitate residents’ cleaning of the rooms and minimize possibility of cross infection.
  6. Chlorine tablets have been added into the flush-water tank on the roof top so that the toilet will be cleaned automatically each time a resident flushes;
  7. Diluted household bleach will be used for cleaning of air filters of window a/c units, handrails and so on, as well as topping up of the water column inside floor drains on premises;
  8. A service lift, together with some washers and dryers will be designated for "Students of Health Care Discipline" when necessary;
  9. Experienced lecturers from School of Nursing or medical professionals from UHS may be invited to reside in the hall to provide guidance and support to residents on measures against SARS.


Given the frequent interactions among large number of residents in the hall community, the observation of personal hygiene and preparedness against the spread of infectious disease among residents are vital.

Personal Hygiene

The good personal hygiene standard and body immunity are fundamental in fighting against any disease. Residents are highly advised to maintain a balanced diet, adequate rest (this is a mission impossible yet of critical importance for the energetic youths in the hall) and regular exercise and observe a series of good practices, such as:

  • Wash hands properly and regularly, particularly after touching communal objects such as hand railings, lift buttons, and door knobs and handles. Do not touch one’s nose, eyes or mouth without washing his hands first with soap and water;
  • Wash clothes and bedding frequently and regularly;
  • Clean bed room frequently and regularly with the joint-effort of the room-mate;
  • Help maintain the hall environment clean and cleanse furniture properly;
  • Maintain good indoor ventilation, keep windows opened if necessary;
  • Cover mouth and nose with tissue while sneezing and coughing;
  • Dispose of used tissue paper properly;
  • Avoid sharing towels, eating utensils or other personal items;
  • Use serving spoons or chopsticks;
  • Reduce stress and avoid smoking;
  • Keep a face mask handy if going to crowded public & poorly ventilated place;
  • Wear mask if one develops a runny nose, sore throat and cough;
  • Consult UHS promptly if one develops respiratory symptoms such as fever, malaise, chills, headache, joint pain, dizziness, rigors, cough, sore throat and runny nose. The earlier the treatment one receives, the less risk one is exposed.

Residents’ self-awareness

Residents’ self-awareness against SARS is equally important as only with the initiation of the residents can the related parties be aware of the problems they encountered, e.g.

  • For residents suffering fever or symptoms of respiratory tract infection, they should seek medical advice from UHS or doctors and report to HMS/Warden if assistance is needed. If they are at home with fever or diarrhea, they should not return hall;
  • For residents returning from areas of Travel Alert, they should remain alert to any symptoms of fever for the next 10 days and keep HMS/Warden informed;
  • Wear a mask to prevent the spread of droplets when having face to face contact with people at a distance of less than 3 feet;
  • Those who have close contact of a confirmed or suspected SARS patient will be required to undergo home confinement. They must stay at home for monitoring up to a maximum of 10 days.

Hall Surveillance Team

Wardens and Tutors as well as HMS, property management staff and key members of Hall Associations will be invited to form the surveillance team:

  • to identify any potential environmental threats for spread of virus
  • to identify students who may have symptoms that warrant special attention;
  • to disseminate the news related to Travel Alert issued by WHO and updated preventive measures against SARS will be posted in the most prominent places in the Hall;
  • to enhance communication within hall residents and work out effective means in SARS prevention.



The Fever Case refers to a resident who runs a fever of over 38oC but not much other SARS like symptoms.

Handling Procedures

The resident is required to:

  • Seek diagnosis and treatment from UHS or a doctor who is the nearest to the Hall immediately and notify HMS/Warden if assistance is needed;
  • If the diagnosis is unlikely to be SARS but the possibility cannot be completely ruled out the possibility, the resident will be advised to return home where he/she can have better care and attention;
  • Rest in the room if he/she prefers to stay in the hall or he/she is a non-local student. Avoid attending classes, laboratories, hall events or common areas as a general means against the spread of virus.

The room-mates should help:

  • Maintain a clean and hygienic room environment;
  • Render mutual support and keep a surveillance network, e.g. advise those with symptoms to consult UHS, or offer room-mate a check-list if he/she has just returned from a place under travel alert.



Definition of suspected SARS case

Suspect case refers to a resident who has been admitted into the hospital and classified by Department of Health as a suspected case for observation and investigation of SARS infection.

Handling procedures

  1. HMS/Warden will report suspected SARS cases to UHS and the SARS Task Force upon receiving the message, to initiate the protocol of liaising with Department of Health;
  2. UHS will help liaise regularly with the hospital, Department of Health and the patient to update the latest condition, status of confirmation of the diagnosis and keep related parties informed of the progress of the suspected cases;
  3. The hospitalized resident will be contacted for coming up a list of Close Contacts or social contacts within the 10 days preceding his/her development of symptoms, to enable Department of Health to take further actions once the case is confirmed as a SARS case;
  4. HMS will work closely with property management staff to perform intensive and extensive cleaning and disinfection in the hall as advised by Department of Health and Crisis Management Team. (If necessary, the relevant wing will be vacated for extensive cleaning and disinfection);
  5. To address the concerns of residents at large, professional staff of UHS or SN will be invited to de-brief concerned residents to allay their fear and alert them about signs and symptoms to watch out for;
  6. HMS and all parties in the hall will facilitate the implementation of home confinement arrangement as advised by Department of Health.

Close contacts of suspected case

Close contacts of suspected case are defined as follows:

  • Residents who have been living with or have been in direct contact with the respiratory secretions and/or body fluids of a person with suspected or confirmed SARS in the last 10 days;
  • Residents who have had prolonged hours (of 3 hours or more) of face to face interaction at close distance (of less than 3 feet) with the suspected or confirmed case. This usually includes students staying on the same floor within the 10 days preceding the development of symptoms of the suspected case;

Actions to be taken by close contacts:

  • Close contacts of suspected SARS patients are required by law to undergo home confinement (for local students) or confinement in existing lodging place (for non-local students) for up to 10 days, in the similar way to confirmed SARS patients.

Hall Temporary Sick Room (HTSR)

The Hall will not be an isolation site. As advised by Department of Health, residents having close contact with Suspected or Confirmed SARS case should be isolated from healthy residents and refrain from sharing public facilities. Hence for local students, they should either move to quarantine sites provided by Government or move back home.

The Hall Temporary Sick Room (HTSR), given its limited capacity, is used as isolation site for non-local students only (who are close contacts to the suspected case and do not have a local home to return). When the HTSR is fully occupied, vacant rooms in the hall may be used as a last resort.

While staying in HTSR or other designated rooms, the close contacts are required by law:

  • to stay in the designated room. They should not go out, attend class or group activities in the hall, or entertain visitors during the quarantine period. (If deemed necessary, CCTV at the common corridor will be used to monitor the situation);
  • to record their temperature regularly and report any development of early SARS symptoms;
  • to adhere to the general precautionary measures, such as:
    • wear a surgical mask at all times as far as possible;
    • deposit used masks in paper or plastic bags;
    • wash hands after touching communal objects such as door knobs/handles, showerheads, water taps, toilets, eating utensils;
    • Cleanse the room thoroughly on your own.

Property management staff will provide diluted household bleach and arrange the provision of daily living support including meals and laundry to the resident staying in quarantine.


Definition of confirmed SARS case

The Department of Health will determine whether or not a case of SARS has been confirmed and will take over the follow-up actions in the hall if a confirmed case is established. The HMS will facilitate the implementation of necessary arrangements as advised by Department of Health.

Close contacts of confirmed case

Residents who have taken care of or had direct contact with respiratory secretions and body fluids of a patient with SARS will be termed as close contacts. The Department of Health will contact them, based on the list gathered from the confirmed case or as the department deems appropriate, directly about detailed arrangements.

The close contact are required by law to stay at home or at the lodging place for 10 days and report each day for check-up at a designated clinic for 10 days. If they have developed the symptoms of the disease, they will be admitted to hospital for isolation and treatment immediately.

Hall Temporary Sick Room (HTSR)

Same as the handling of close contact of the suspected case, local students are advised to return home for isolation, and non-local residents who are the Close Contacts of the confirmed case will be allowed to stay at the Hall Temporary Sick Room or a room in the remote corner in the Hall. He/she are advised to stay calm and strictly follow the instructions of Department of Health.

Social contacts of confirmed case

Social Contacts are those persons who have had casual contact with a SARS patient, i.e. those persons who have not been involved in the care of, or lived together with, or had direct contact with respiratory secretions and body fluids of a SARS patient. Generally, students living in the same hall (not the same room), attend the same class or laboratory with a SARS patient may be considered as Social Contacts, and not Close Contacts.

Residents who may have social contacts with the confirmed case will be advised to carefully monitor their own health conditions in the next 10 days and vigorously observe personal hygiene practices.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 April 2013 12:08