Virus fears may be keeping children away from pools

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 August, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 August, 1998, 12:00am

The fear of contracting enteroviral infections may have deterred many parents from taking their children to public pools.

Attendance at five of the 16 Urban Services Department public pools has dropped.

Two of them are leisure pools for children. In June and July, attendance rates at the Jordan Valley and Hammer Hill Road pools were 161,666 - 52,628 less than last year.

A department spokesman did not explain the fall in attendance rates.

Asked whether it was due to parents' fears that children - who are more susceptible to enteroviruses - could contract them, the spokesman said: 'These pools are meant for children.' The 47,000 drop in July at Morrison Hill pool was due to closure for renovations, while group bookings at the Wan Chai Training Pool has also led to a fall.

The spokesman said the Government had stepped up testing of water at all pools since the scare.

All pools are now tested hourly on site. Samples previously sent to laboratories for testing every month are now sent weekly to be tested for enteroviruses and cholera.

The scorching summer heat, however, is seeing more swimmers cooling off at public pools with overall attendances up from last year.

In the three months from April to June, nearly 885,000 people visited the Regional Services Department's 16 pools.

The figure was significantly up on last year's 712,301 in the same quarter.

Up to the end of July, more than 3.12 million people have visited one of the Urban Services Department's pools in Hong Kong and Kowloon, compared with 2.7 million last year.

July alone saw more than 60,000 extra swimmers make use of the department's facilities. The total number in that month was 1.08 million.


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