As soon as the first local case was confirmed in January 2020, HKSH Medical Group set up the Emergency Response Task Force to coordinate stringent infection control measures with the activation of emergency response level.

Headed by a Deputy Medical Superintendent, who is also an Honorary Consultant in Clinical Microbiology, the Emergency Response Task Force comprises senior management, specialists, members of the Infection Control Team and representatives from other supporting departments. It meets regularly to review and coordinate the overall responses in line with the latest local and global developments of the pandemic.

The COVID-19 strategy of HKSH hinges on the leadership of HKSH senior management, vigilance in healthcare team, development of diagnostic and screening methods, close collaboration among senior management, specialists, infection control team as well as frontline and supporting staff, and communications with the authorities. It ensures immediate and timely updates of strategies in response to changes in the pandemic and government emergency measures, thereby facilitating support for public healthcare.

Public-Private Collaboration

The Hong Kong’s healthcare system runs on a dual-track basis with clear demarcation of responsibilities between the public and private hospitals, i.e. admission of COVID-19 patients by the former and treatment of non- COVID-19 patients by the latter. In compliance with government policies, patients tested positive for COVID-19 are now reported to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) under the prevailing mechanism for transfer to and follow-up in public hospitals.

  • Patients can now be isolated for continuous treatment in our designated wards despite being tested positive for COVID-19. Dozens of inpatients continue their regimens and receive other proper treatments, including the use of new COVID medications, after being tested positive or confirmed as close contacts during routine screening this month.

  • Collaboration with the Hospital Authority (HA) has already been kick-started with a taskforce led by a Deputy Medical Superintendent of HKSH to directly engage in discussion and coordination of referrals from the public hospitals. With over 100 beds set aside for patients transferred from public hospitals, HKSH looks forward to catering for over 220 transferred cases of different specialties each month.

  • In early March 2022, emergency operations for two cancer patients were referred to and successfully completed at HKSH. In view of further arrangement by HA, the Hospital welcomes more referrals from HA, including deliveries, patients with cardio-vascular conditions and cancer patients requiring radiotherapy and other treatments.

  • Throughout the pandemic, HKSH has maintained 24-hour outpatient service to treat patients of all kinds, including COVID-19 confirmed cases with mild symptoms. Over 20% of cases were confirmed positive for COVID-19 from 1 to 10 March.

  • Starting in 2021, HKSH patients can request collection and delivery of medications prescribed for non-emergency use and arranged by HKSH Pharmacy via a designated third-party delivery company, i.e. Delivery Med service.

  • HKSH Telemedicine for Family Medicine has been further strengthened with DeliveryMed service to enable timely treatment and assistance for the public who contracted COVID-19 or are close contacts of confirmed cases and are under home quarantine. Patients or close contacts with mild COVID-19 symptoms can now book HKSH Telemedicine Service at And the daily teleconsultation quota has increased from 40 to 80 with effect from 14 March 2022.

  • HKSH has full responsibility to take care of its non-COVID-19 patients, among them some are in vulnerable conditions including those who are undergoing renal dialysis, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. It is the utmost responsibility of the Hospital to safeguard patients’ safety during their stay at the Hospital.
Measures and Facilities

COVID-19 Diagnosis, Prevention, Vaccination and Related Services

In support of the Government’s Universal Community Testing Programme, over 200 medical and nursing personnel volunteered to perform tests on about 20,000 people from 1 to 11 September 2020.

Our Molecular Pathology Division continues to offer full range of COVID-19 PCR testing services with quick reporting turnaround to help curb community spread.

As one of the seven government-designated centres for seniors during recovery or with mild symptoms, the holding centre at Siu Sai Wan Sports Centre will be run by HKSH with 165 beds.

In support of the Government’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, two community vaccination centres were opened on 5/F Central Block of the Hospital and 5/F of HKSH Eastern Medical Centre in March 2021 to provide free vaccination of BioNTech vaccines.

Sinovac vaccines were also administered for free by the Resident Medical Officers of HKSH.

Some of our retired staff also volunteered as part-time helpers to help the fight against COVID-19.

To ensure vaccination safety, pre-vaccination screening was launched by HKSH Allergy Centre for people with a history of drug or vaccine allergy. Over 1,500 patients were screened since its launch in February 2021.

In 2021, the Hospital began to include neutralizing antibody in addition to existing IgG II Quantitative Result for COVID-19 Antibody Test. It is suitable for those who have completed a full course of COVID-19 vaccination for at least 14 days prior to the test.

Stringent Infection Control Measures in HKSH

With all nursing personnel staying on high alert throughout the pandemic, screening criteria for admission/centre and outpatient consultation were strictly implemented along with other infection control initiatives in the Hospital and other medical centres within HKSH Medical Group, e.g. Fever, Travel, Occupation, Contact and Clustering (FTOCC) screening, antigen screenings and PCR tests. Prospective inpatients were required to stay in a “Holding Room” to wait for test results, and are only allowed for admission or to enter ward if tested negative. Those tested positive were immediately reported to the Department of Health and transferred to public hospitals.

Tents were also set up at the Hospital and HKSH Eastern Medical Centre for screening by way of antigen screenings, deep throat saliva test and PCR tests. Performed by on-duty nurses in full personal protective equipment, about 600 and over 1,000 tests were conducted on visitors every single day and for inpatients every two weeks respectively.

Traffic control and Temperature (Infra-red) Screening at the Main Entrance of the Hospital.

An online platform called “HKSH Health Code” was launched in December 2020 to control access to hospital premises. A “green code” is granted to registered visitors who have a valid negative COVID-19 antigen test result or have completed two doses of COVID-19 vaccination for entry to certain medical facilities and wards.

Isolation Facilities

Patients are sent to16 isolation rooms, which includes 2 airborne isolation rooms, to wait for COVID-19 screening results before admission.

In response to the recent surge of positive cases, ventilation fans have been installed in designated wards for treating COVID-19 patients.

Enhanced Capability in Microbiology and Molecular Pathology for COVID-19 Diagnosis and Screening

As one of the government-recognised testing institutions in Hong Kong, HKSH introduced COVID-19 PCR tests in February 2020.

The Hospital was also the first private medical institution in Hong Kong to introduce Nasopharyngeal Swab pooled with Throat Swab and Deep Throat Saliva Test.
The Hospital introduced Hong Kong’s first rapid COVID-19 antigen testing by nasal swab in the local private sector in November 2020.

Since the onset of the 5th wave of Omicron, a total of 4,798 cases were tested positive by PCR tests in HKSH by mid-March 2022.

Establishment of Clinical Infections Clinic

Established in September 2020, the Clinical Infections Clinic provides specialised diagnostic evaluations and tailored treatment plans for patients with acute or chronic infectious diseases.

Led by a team of experienced infection disease specialists, the Clinical Infections Clinic also plays a major role in the fight against COVID-19 with specialised diagnostic evaluations and tailored advice on clinical management and prevention. It works closely with the Emergency Response Task Group and the Infection Control Team in formulating, updating and implementing infection control measures at the Hospital and other medical centres.

The Clinic also provides major assistance in vaccination and testing of antibodies, and works hand in hand with the Department of Pathology in evaluating screening methods and recommending new testing modalities.
Research and Knowledge Exchange on COVID-19

Clinical Research
Healthcare workers (HCWs) in Hong Kong were among the priority groups to receive coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination. HCWs of Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital who enrolled for COVID-19 vaccination from 22 February to 30 April 2021 were recruited for serial measurement of their antibody response. Of the 457 HCWs recruited, none of them had prior COVID-19. 220 (48.1%) selected an inactivated vaccine (CoronaVac; Sinovac Life Sciences, Beijing, China) and 237 (51.9%) selected an mRNA vaccine (BNT162b2/Comirnaty; Fosun-BioNTech Pharma), based on their personal preference. At week 4, BNT162b2 resulted in a 11-fold higher level of anti-spike IgG (mean=11572.6 AU/mL vs 1005.2 AU/mL; P<0.001) and a higher surrogate neutralising antibody (sNAb) positive rate (100% vs 94.4%; P<0.001). At week 12, waning of IgG level was observed in both vaccine arms with a larger magnitude of decline in BNT162b2 (-72% vs -64.6%; P<0.001). Despite the more pronounced decline, the median anti-spike IgG of BNT162b2 remained 11-fold higher than that of CoronaVac at week 12 (2840.25 AU/mL vs 253.60 AU/mL; P<0.001). Significantly more CoronaVac recipients had lost their sNAb at week 12 (94.4% sNAb positive at week 2, 62.4% at week 12) whereas 99% of BNT162b2 recipients remained sNAb positive. Throughout the study period, BNT162b2 arm had higher levels of anti-spike IgG and sNAb (P<0.001). These results have demonstrated that both vaccines are immunogenic but BNT162b2 is associated with a superior humoral response. The results were published in two articles in Hong Kong Medical Journal.

Another study related to evaluation of a COVID-19 rapid antigen test was completed and published in Microbiology Spectrum Journal in 2021.

Published in World Allergy Organization Journal in December 2021, a study by Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital and LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed) revealed that 98% of the allergic patients previously deemed to be at risk of COVID-19 vaccine-associated allergy were recommended for vaccination after allergist evaluation at Vaccine Allergy Safety (VAS) clinics between February and June 2021.The research team found that COVID-19 vaccination has been proven to be safe for patients who were previously deemed at higher risk of vaccine-associated allergic reactions. Unnecessary referrals for VAS screening would cause long waiting time for assessment and delays in vaccination. They also advised the concerned authorities the pressing need to reform the workflow of suspected COVID-19 vaccine-associated allergies including updating the current Hong Kong Institute of Allergy (HKIA) and Department of Health (DoH) guidance to remove non-COVID19 vaccine (or related excipient) associated anaphylaxis as a precaution for COVID-19 vaccination.

A study named "Research study on Immunogenicity of third dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in non-responders and those with negative neutralizing antibody after standard 2-dose SARS-CoV-2 immunization" are now underway. Results are expected to be available in 2022.
Knowledge Exchange
on COVID-19

Li Shu Pui Symposium 2021
"COVID-19 and Beyond"    READ MORE
Public Education

In February 2020, the HKSH YouTube channel was launched as a media platform for HKSH specialists and medical personnel to share useful tips and advice on COVID-19 and other health issues.

HKSH specialists are invited to answer the most common questions on wide-ranging health conditions and treatments in an all-new video column called “Ask Dr. HKSH”. Video clips are uploaded regularly to the Hospital’s website, HKSH Mobile App and the Group’s YouTube channel for public viewing.

Prevent COVID-19 with HKSH (in Chinese Only)

Ask Dr. HKSH
(with Chinese and English Subtitles)