ferry firm tries to woo mainlanders to islands
New World First Ferry will offer off-peak group concessions targeted at mainlanders next month to boost tourism to the outlying islands. From Saturday, groups of 30 to 49 people will get a 10 per cent discount, and 50 or more will get 20 per cent. The elderly and children, who enjoy half-price fares, will be excluded. The discounts will be launched a month ahead of the 'golden week' holiday - beginning May 1 - to attract mainland travellers. 'The plan is aimed at small school, charity and tour groups,' said First Ferry director and general manager John Hui Chiu-yin.
travellers warned over mosquito-borne diseases
The Centre for Health Protection has urged people to be on guard against mosquito-borne diseases when travelling overseas after it was confirmed a 66-year-old man had contracted Chikungunya fever. The man visited Mauritius from March 16 to 22. He developed fever, chills, rigor and muscle pain on March 22 and sought treatment at Prince of Wales Hospital when he returned to Hong Kong. Centre consultant Thomas Tsang Ho-fai said the disease was characterised by fever, headache and joint pains, and could be transmitted only by Aedes mosquitoes found in Africa, Asia and Indian Ocean islands. The man is in a stable condition at Princess Margaret Hospital. His wife showed no symptoms.
new hepatitis b drug may end lifelong treatments
Chronic hepatitis B sufferers may no longer need lifelong treatment with a new injectable drug, research shows. Some 83 per cent of patients who had peginterferon injections for 48 weeks achieved seroconversion, which means a strong immune reaction had developed one year after treatment ended. The response is markedly superior to that of lamivudine, a drug taken for life. It was believed peginterferon could stop liver inflammation, said George Lau Ka-kit, assistant dean at the University of Hong Kong's faculty of medicine. Without inflammation, patients are unlikely to develop liver cancer or cirrhosis.