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HK government to earmark more fund for recovered SARS patients
( 2003-10-29 09:16) (Xinhua)

The Hong Kong government will inject an additional 20 million Hong Kong dollars (2.56 million US dollars) to top up the proposed Trust Fund for SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), bringing the total one-off commitment to 150 million Hong Kong dollars.

Explaining the additional commitment, a spokesman for Hong Kong 's Health, Welfare and Food Bureau Tuesday said that with medical knowledge available to date, it is not possible to work out precisely the number of recovered SARS patients with medical needs.

"We also recognize that it is difficult to estimate the amount of financial assistance needed for an individual applicant, which very much depends on the medical and economic needs of the individual concerned," said the spokesman.

"Nevertheless, we propose to inject an additional of 20 million Hong Kong dollars into the fund to address the concern over the adequacy of the fund earmarked for recovered SARS patients," he said.

The trust fund was proposed earlier to provide special ex- gratia assistance to SARS-affected families on compassionate grounds.

It comprised special ex-gratia relief payments for family members of deceased SARS patients; and special ex-gratia financial assistance for recovered SARS patients suffering from longer-term effects, attributable to SARS or arising from the treatment received for SARS, which might result in some degree of physical or psychological dysfunction.

The provision for family members of deceased SARS patients remained unchanged, the spokesman added.

The proposed injection would be discussed at a joint meeting of the Legislative Council's Health Services and Welfare Services Panels on Wednesday. The Finance Committee would be approached on Nov. 7 for funding approval for the establishment of the Trust Fund for SARS.

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