Health chief says current levels of control are unacceptable and vows to keep indices below the danger level of 20pc Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Yeoh Eng-kiong yesterday vowed to bring mosquito numbers below danger levels in all 18 districts by next month. 'This is my target given to the [food and environmental hygiene] department to see whether we will be able to keep the [ovitrap] indices at all districts below 20 per cent,' he said. Twenty is the 'alert' level for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Last month the ovitrap index reached a Hong Kong-wide average of 31.6 per cent, with 30 of the 38 monitoring stations exceeding the alert level. The highest level was 61.8 per cent in Tai Wai. Describing the situation as unacceptable, Dr Yeoh said: 'I will be asking my colleagues to make sure that we have dramatic improvements by next month.' He was speaking after meeting 33 district council chairmen and vice-chairmen yesterday to seek their co-operation in mosquito control. On Wednesday he declared war on the threat of dengue fever, although so far only imported cases have been recorded. Dr Yeoh said one strategy being considered was to step up monitoring during rainy periods. 'Perhaps our monitoring systems need to be intensified during certain periods when there might be rain. 'If we do these indices on a monthly basis, by the time the indices go up, it will be a bit late. So we need to review our strategies during this rainy period so we always keep the indices below 20.' Yuen Long District Council chairman Tang Siu-tong said the government did not manage the mosquito problem very well in his district and said he had complained. The district councillors also urged the government to allocate money to each of the 18 districts to handle the mosquito problem. 'I think that the main point is how to let residents take part in the campaign against mosquitoes. If you can let the people know, then more people will join in,' Mr Tang said. The director of lands yesterday also promised that all fenced-off government land in areas with high mosquito readings would be inspected within a week, as part of efforts to stave off an attack of dengue fever. Patrick Lau Lai-chu said a telephone hotline (2231 3294) and a fax hotline (2868 4707) were being set up to handle complaints about hygiene problems on government land and would be operating from tomorrow. Mr Lau was speaking after inspecting grass-cutting and insecticide-spraying operations on government land in Diamond Hill. He said the government budgeted $7 million this year to cut grass on 600 plots of land and would increase the frequency if necessary, although the cost could be up to $50,000 each time. 'We perform grass-cutting operations on government lands regularly. Workers also spray insecticide if too many mosquitoes are found. We hope to balance public health with limited resources.'