Chief executive of casino hub Fernando Chui out of action for five days, as elderly and children fall victim to surge in flu cases
Nine more flu patients have died in Hong Kong this week, bringing the death toll since the start of the year to 32.
The city’s Centre for Health Protection revealed the loss of life on Thursday as the government of neighbouring Macau disclosed that the casino hub’s leader Fernando Chui Sai-on had also come down with the virus.
Chui has been on leave since Tuesday and will take a total of five days off to rest.
The latest deaths follow Hong Kong’s first fatal case of child influenza in the year, which was made public on Monday. The girl was three years old.
The environmental authority said an airstream was transporting pollutants to the territory, but rain and cloudier weather in the coming days might lower pollution levels.
Air pollution blanketed multiple areas of Hong Kong on Wednesday, with 14 of 16 air quality monitoring stations showing a “high” to “very high” health risk in the early afternoon, prompting the environmental authority to urge old people and children to stay indoors.
The warning came barely a day after official statistics indicated that Hongkongers endured nearly twice the number of days of unhealthy air last year compared with the previous year.
By 3pm on Wednesday, all but two air quality monitoring stations were showing readings of 7 to 10 on the 11-tier Air Quality Health Index.
The child, who had been receiving care at United Christian Hospital since January 6, died on Monday morning
A three-year-old girl who had been suffering from flu died on Monday morning, the first fatal case of child influenza in Hong Kong this year.
The girl’s death came after the Centre for Health Protection announced last Wednesday that the city had entered the winter flu season as the number of cases were rising.
NO2 readings last year serious enough to be observed inside homes and buses
Concentrations of a stubborn roadside pollutant intensified in Hong Kong last year, reversing three years of decline and casting doubt on the government’s ability to meet its air quality targets for 2020.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels were serious enough in western parts of the city that unsafe measurements were observed inside homes and even buses, the environmental group Clean Air Network found.
The group’s latest review of the city’s air showed average annual NO2 concentrations measured at the government’s three roadside air quality monitoring stations had risen from about 82 micrograms per cubic metre of air in 2016 to 85mcg last year.
12 January, 2018
Three more die as Hong Kong hospitals see increase in flu cases
Some 13 flu sufferers have died since the start of the year
Three more flu patients died in a single day recently as the number of people suffering from the disease is expected to rise, Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection has said.
The latest figures came after health officials announced on Wednesday that the city had entered a flu season, with a rising number of cases.
According to the latest issue of Flu Express, which is published weekly by the centre, as of Wednesday, 27 severe flu cases have been recorded among adults this year. Among them, 13 people have died.
8 January, 2018
Macedonian smog envelopes cities, emergency measures introduced
As 2017 ended and 2018 began, Macedonia took emergency measures against dense smog enveloping its cities, an annual winter scourge in the Western Balkans blamed on a mix of coal burning, ageing industry and high-polluting emissions from older vehicles.
Local media said shops ran out of face masks as many people sought to protect themselves from the subzero and largely windless air in Skopje, which sits at the bottom of a valley.
2 January, 2018
Beijing's air pollution worsening during the New Year period
Air pollution in the region around the Chinese capital of Beijing continues to worsen during the New Year period (January 1 to 3), according to China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP).
In the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region, the average concentration of small breathable particles, known as PM2.5, has risen to a peak of 200-250 microgrammes per cubic metre, reports Chinese news agency China News.
2 January, 2018
On New Year Day, air pollution on edge of emergency in Delhi
Air pollution in Delhi on Monday stood on the brink of the emergency level due to a rapid build up of particulate matter owing to foggy conditions, even as Delhiites stepped out in large numbers to mark the first day of the New Year.
The day’s average air quality index (AQI) was at 400, classified as ‘very poor’ by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). However, it was just one point short of ‘severe’, the worst AQI in the CPCB index. SAFAR, which has its own monitoring network, recorded ‘severe’ levels of pollution.
2 January, 2018
Smoke from wildfires can tip air quality to unhealthy levels
Smoke plumes emanating from wildfires are swept high up into the air and spread over thousands of kilometers even days after a fire has been put out. The fine particles and harmful ozone contained in these plumes often have devastating effects on the air quality of US cities and consequently the health of their inhabitants. This is according to Alexandra Larsen of North Carolina State University in the US who led the first ever study taking a long-term look into the effects that wildfire smoke has on air quality across the US. The article appears in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology which is published by Springer Nature.
Since the 1970s, the number of large-scale wildfires in the US, which spread across 10,000 acres (~4000+ hectares) or more, has increased fivefold. This is worrying because exposure to particles and gases associated with wildfire smoke often leads people to be hospitalized with breathing and heart-related problems.
Hazy days are more likely to trigger fatal incidents among those with mental health issues such as dementia, bipolar disorder and depression, according to the first study in Hong Kong trying to establish a link.
For those with chronic diseases, it is well known that air pollution worsens their condition, but according to the study by Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which is looking at the relationship between hazy days and the mortality details of the deceased, those with mental problems were 16.4 to 26.5 per cent more likely to die on a day with severe air pollution.
Hong Kong is frequently covered in a thick blanket of smog owing to the air pollution, which contributes to reduced visibility.
World Health Organization (WHO)
National Environment Agency