New ambulance cleaning methods to be used in wake of increase in Hong Kong coronavirus cases

The Hong Kong fire service has boosted the cleaning regime for its ambulances in the wake of a recent surge in coronavirus cases that sparked an increase in emergency calls to about 2,000 a day.

Calls to the 999 number hit about 2,700 a day at the height of the fifth wave in March, according to the Fire Services Department.

The department said its emergency fleet would use scientific methods to check the effectiveness of cleaning and improved disinfectant techniques.

Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team.

Hi-tech fluorescent markers will be used to check cleanliness of ambulances as part of the fight against Covid-19. Photo: Dickson Lee

It explained it would use fluorescent markers on surfaces before disinfection, which showed cleanliness levels when inspected under special UVA lights.

Cleaners would also use a technique called ATP bioluminescence assay, which could show inside 10 seconds if samples collected from surfaces were free of microbes.

Dr Mok Ka-leung, the department’s medical director, said that earlier inspection of surfaces by visual methods alone was ineffective.

“The previous method we used was not an objective and scientific way for quality assurance. Therefore, we imposed standards this time for us to access the disinfection results,” Mok explained.

The department would also introduce chlorine dioxide disinfectant, which was effective against most pathogens, a spill kit that used chemicals to solidify blood and other fluids and more effective disinfection wipes.

Hong Kong firefighters to be mobilised to tackle possible 6th Covid-19 wave

Tam Kit-fung, a superintendent in the department’s ambulance service, said the new tools for cleaning ambulances would help combat any new wave of infections.

“Originally, we would use bleach with water to clean, which required more time for diluting,” Tam explained. “With the new tools, we can clean faster by 15 minutes and ensure the safety of the ambulances.”

Mok said that the chemical solutions involved in the new methods could cause minor skin allergies, but had been proven to be safe for human use by medical authorities around the world.

The city has logged more than 4,000 new coronavirus cases a day since mid-July.

More from South China Morning Post:

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2022.

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

SCMP , Hong Kong , Ambulances


Next In Aseanplus News

Asean News Headlines at 9pm on Tuesday (Sept 27, 2022)
Singapore PM Lee and Japan PM Kishida discuss cooperation on digitalisation and multilateral trade
Six killed and three missing as landslides hit mine in Indonesia's Kalimantan
Myanmar worker crushed to death by falling concrete slab, two others injured
No big investiture for William and Kate as new Prince and Princess of Wales
Russian tourist in Thailand claims Russian mafia extorted US$3mil
Bank Indonesia intervention lifts rupiah from lowest position since 2020
Thai capital Bangkok's ‘congestion charge’ in pipeline as traffic study nears completion
Vietnam reports 1,585 new Covid-19 cases and one death on Tuesday (Sept 27)
Philippines logs 1,555 new Covid-19 cases and 30 deaths on Tuesday (Sept 27)

Others Also Read