'Private clinics closing due to mask shortage' - RTHK
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'Private clinics closing due to mask shortage'

2020-02-06 HKT 13:03
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  • 'Private clinics closing due to mask shortage'
The Hong Kong Medical Association said on Thursday that some private doctors in the city have closed their clinics because they can't get hold of enough face masks, and hundreds more may soon follow suit.

The association said at least 10 clinics have already been shut during the coronavirus outbreak, because doctors and nurses don't have masks to wear. It said if supplies don't arrive soon, it believes another 400 clinics could also have to close up.

"During the Sars period, there were fatalities of our comrades. Private doctors died during Sars. Very sad stories. We hope this does not happen again in Hong Kong," said Dr Douglas Chan, a member of the association's council.

"We tell our members that if you do not have sufficient, adequate masks, you should keep safe and close your clinics and not to put yourself in a very dangerous position."

The association said it had recently received some 30,000 masks from the government. But it said it would only be able to send these supplies to 600 private doctors, despite more than a thousand requesting masks.

It said if clinics are forced to go without, they may have to close, while some doctors are opening every other day to conserve supplies.

Government departments have also been told to restrict the use of masks by staff, to make sure there are enough left for medical workers.