Eighty young police officers and district liaison officers went where others feared to tread. A call to duty at dawn on March 31 last year led these men and women to knock on each of the flats in the 33-storey Block E at Amoy Gardens, to carry out the isolation orders given by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa. Among them was Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Shelley Lee Lai-kuen. 'I convinced myself that this was absolutely the right thing to do: I did not feel I was doing the dirty work for anybody,' she said. 'It was not heroic. Over the years, every time there is a fire, a flood, I go there myself.' Her partner was a senior woman police inspector named Apple, she said. Ms Lee recalled receiving an urgent call from the Chief Executive's Office late on March 30 that the Home Affairs Department would carry out the isolation orders. They had eight hours to begin the job the next day, starting at 5am. Her office worked the phones to organise the teams. The teams told residents to stay in their flats and not to leave or receive visitors for the next 10 days. Hours later, the order was changed yet again: this time, all Block E residents were to be taken to holiday camps in buses and Block E was effectively sealed off. The 40 men in uniform each of whom was partnered by a junior liaison officer were told the isolation order had to be carried out within two hours. A 33-year-old Shenzhen man who was receiving dialysis at the Prince of Wales Hospital stayed overnight at his brother's flat in Block E. He had stayed both before and after he was treated at the Sars-infected Ward 8A. By the end of the outbreak, 329 Amoy Gardens residents were infected, and 42 died. Of those who died, 22 were from Block E. The district officers from Wong Tai Sin, Kwun Tong and Kowloon City, all in their 20s, assembled at 4am on March 31 at Kwun Tong District Office to be read the Department of Health briefing document, hastily prepared, copied and faxed overnight. At 6am the operation began at Block E. One team covered each floor which has six flats. Ms Lee and Apple took the lift up to the top floor, before walking down floor by floor. When the operation was over, 'I was surrounded by the media but nobody knew it was me. I had my mask on. I was washing my hands, winking at them,' she said. She did not give a media briefing, but quietly drove to the government information service press conference room in Central at 8.30am where she listened to Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food Yeoh Eng-kiong announcing that Block E residents had been served isolation orders. On April 1, Dr Yeoh decided that all Block E residents would be taken to two holiday camps by bus. Block E was sealed off. Poorly equipped with paper-thin masks, a pair of black rubber gloves used by cleaners, a paper shower cap, and a white robe, Ms Lee said that for the next 10 days she was on tenterhooks. She avoided contact with anyone, especially her family and friends. 'I did not shake hands with anybody. I wore masks all the time, I even avoided my own helper,' she said.