Bulletin No. 1, 2020

18 Chinese University Bulletin No.1, 2020 A s Hong Kong was battling the COVID-19 crisis, CUHK has not taken a back seat. It was among the first to arrive at the scene, utilizing its academic expertise to sound the alarm and inform policies to keep the fast unfolding crisis in check. In the first two weeks after the first confirmed case was reported on 23 January, a research team fromThe Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care surveyed 1,168 Hong Kong residents to investigate the public’s risk perception and psychobehavioural responses. Among their findings are that an overwhelming majority of the respondents were alert to the disease progression (99.5%), perceived a high chance of getting infected (88%), and practised enhanced personal hygiene practices such as First on the Scene wearing masks and washing hands (90%). The release of such findings in mid-February was a timely reminder to policymakers and the public that psychobehavioural changes are also effective interventions in the control of the disease. In another study, the researchers analysed the first 56 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong from demographic and epidemiological data. They found that over 90% of the cases had a delay of an average of six days from the onset of symptoms to isolation, with the longest time being 14 days, and that most patients had sought medical assistance more than once before diagnosis was made. Given the relatively long period of incubation and deceptively mild symptoms at the onset, the team exhorted the government and the public to adopt social distancing policies and practices.