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SMS sender scheme expanded

The Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) announced today that the SMS Sender Registration Scheme is now open for application by all sectors to further help the public verify the identities of SMS senders, with a view to combatting SMS fraud.   Apart from further opening up the scheme, the OFCA said it welcomes public and private organisations from various industries with a practical need to communicate with customers or clients via SMS to join the scheme.   Under the scheme, only registered senders are able to send SMS messages using their registered SMS sender IDs with the prefix “#”. All other SMS messages with sender IDs containing “#” but not sent by registered senders will be blocked by the telecommunications networks.   As such, the public can easily identify whether an SMS message is received from a registered sender by the prefix “#” in the SMS sender ID.   The OFCA reminds citizens to stay highly vigilant when receiving SMS messages from unknown sender

Isolation discharge criteria revised

The Government announced that from tomorrow, the criteria for releasing COVID-19 patients from isolation will be updated and the discharge criteria will be tightened.   The revised discharge criteria for symptomatic patients includes no fever for at least three days, having significantly improved respiratory symptoms and significant improvement in lung infiltrates in chest imaging.   These patients also have to meet designated laboratory criteria. They need to have two clinical specimens of the same type that tested negative for nucleic acid of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) taken at least 24 hours apart.   For patients with stool specimen(s) that tested positive, the laboratory criteria are two negative stool specimens collected 24 hours apart before release from isolation.   There should also be 10 days that have passed since the onset of illness for these patients.   For patients who did not develop any COVID-19 compatible symptoms all along, the laboratory criteria are two clinical specimens of the same type that tested negative for nucleic acid of SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR taken at least 24 hours apart.   Those whose stool specimen(s) tested positive, the laboratory criteria are two negative stool specimens collected 24 hours apart before release from isolation.   There should also be 10 days that have passed after the first positive RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 for these patients.   Patients fulfilling the discharge criteria will immediately be arranged by point-to-point transfer to designated isolation facilities to undergo 14-day isolation and health monitoring through closed-loop management.   The arrangement is to ensure they do not bring the virus into the community. The North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre is designated as the isolation facility.        The Department of Health will extend the isolation orders of patients who meet the discharge criteria pursuant to the power under the Prevention & Control of Disease Regulation until 14 days after discharge.

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