Department of Medicine & Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
Pandemic policies in the initial phase are dominated by public health measures to control spread of disease to save lives and prevent the collapse of hospital systems dominated policy. Ethical considerations also support this approach of public health measures taking precedence. Over a period of two years, the diverse consequences of such policies in terms of economic impact, financial, physical and psychological health of individuals, health and social service provisions, and magnifying wealth and health inequalities become increasingly problematic. An ethical approach would require that pandemic policies be reviewed in terms of benefits, adverse consequences directly arising from these policies, and risk assessments carried out based on scientific evidence. Although there have not been outbreaks of local transmissions for over six months in Hong Kong, current policies are still heavily weighted towards ‘elimination’ of infection in the community as the single consideration, without any systematic evaluation of adverse consequences of such policies followed by risk benefit analysis to guide policy formulation. Duration of quarantine, system of widespread testing, hospital and residential care homes visitation policy, and continued provision of community day and home care services for older adults are health and social policy areas that need to be re-visited based on risk assessment underpinned by ethical principles in this later stage of the pandemic.
COVID-19 Pandemic; Vaccination; Quarantine; Older adults; Health inequality; Ethics
Jean Woo, The Need for an Evidence Based COVID-19 Pandemic Response Policy That Incorporates Risk Benefit Considerations, That Does Not Accentuate Health Inequalities, and Guided By Ethical Principles-Hong Kong as A Case Study. Int Case Rep Jour. 2021;1(6):1-9