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June 2020

Dear Fellows and colleagues,

The first half of 2020 has been challenging, as the COVID-19 outbreak has turned into a pandemic. This has been threatening our health, altering our daily activities, and posing a huge burden to public hospitals in Hong Kong. Faced with this unprecedented illness, many of you, no matter whether frontline medical professionals or supporting staff of the Academy, have been working hard since the Chinese Lunar New Year. With everyone’s persistence and effort, fortunately, the recent numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hong Kong have been steadily declining. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you, especially the healthcare professionals, for your dedication and professionalism.

Over the past few months, organisers have been forced to cancel or postpone most training courses, examinations, and medical-related events in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Academy also made a very difficult decision to cancel the annual Medical Education Conference (MEC) 2020 scheduled for 30 May 2020. Nevertheless, the Academy has tried to best maintain continuity of training and education programs via close communications with the organising Colleges on the arrangements of those examinations being postponed and cancelled. Precautionary measures, including in-depth cleaning, body temperature measurements, and social distancing, were recommended and implemented for all events being held on schedule.
With the support from the constituent Colleges, the Academy has made some changes to training and CME / CPD to alleviate some of the disruption caused by COVID-19. For trainees, the Academy has initiated a policy to recognise their duties for other specialties, capped at 4 weeks. For Fellows, the Academy has arranged webcasts and webinars, minimising the impact to Fellows trying to gain CME / CPD points in the midst of a series of cancellations or postponed activities. Details of the arrangements were published in the Letter from the Academy to Trainees and the Letter from Academy President to its Fellows and Trainees, which can be viewed on the Academy website.

During these difficult times, the Academy Council and Secretariat have been functioning as usual to ensure all initiatives planned for 2020 make good progress. The Academy’s Professionalism and Ethics Committee (PEC) successfully held the Seminar on Advance Directives on 21 March 2020, and a webcast was arranged to allow attendees to join remotely. The Webinar on COVID-19 and Related Medico-Legal Issues was held on 24 April 2020, continually formulating the best practice guideline of professionalism and ethics. Hopefully, these events serve as a reminder for all healthcare practitioners of being professional and ethical in spite of adverse conditions. In addition, the Academy has established the “COVID-19 Corner” on the Academy website, in hopes of building a resilient workforce to encourage mutual support and learning. The corner contains useful information, practical guidelines, and some input from the Colleges relating to COVID-19.

Once again, I would like to thank all of you for your concerted effort and hard work. I believe that our knowledges and faith in safeguarding healthiness for Hong Kong citizens will lead us through the difficult times. Together, we shall over these challenges. Remember, wash hands, wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and stay well!

Prof CS Lau

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