Cold weather shelter users may face temperature check

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 January, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 January, 2004, 12:00am

It would add layer of protection against spread of infectious diseases, official says

The Home Affairs Department is considering the introduction of temperature checks at cold weather shelters, where more than 1,800 people have taken refuge since last Monday.

Tse Man-shing, an assistant director of the department, told a radio programme yesterday that it was considering using temperature checks as an added precaution against the spread of infectious diseases. Mr Tse did not say when the department might introduce this measure.

He also dismissed media reports that some people took drugs during their stay. If anyone was caught abusing drugs inside the shelters, the police would be immediately notified, he said.

He said the shelters were well ventilated, regularly cleaned and disinfected, and inspected by staff.

With the cold weather warning in place since January 18, the department has opened its centres to provide food and shelter for the needy every day.

A spokeswoman said that as of yesterday afternoon, 1,828 people had used the government's 17 cold weather shelters.

'Usually when the urban temperatures drop below 12 degrees Celsius or when a cold weather warning signal is issued, we will open our shelters,' she said.

The Hong Kong Observatory said the temperature would rise when the winter monsoon weakens. The monsoon has made the Lunar New Year period one of the coldest on record.

Tong Yu-fai, a scientific officer from the observatory, said bright periods and higher temperatures were expected today.

'But we also expect some rain patches [tomorrow], with the temperatures ranging between 14 and 16 degrees,' he said.

Hong Kong broke the record on Sunday for the longest continuous cold weather warning since the system was introduced to the Observatory in 1999.

The previous record was made in March 2000, lasting for 163 hours.