The Finance Committee (FC) of the Legislative Council approved $150 million for the setting up of the Trust Fund for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) (The Fund) under the Director of Social Welfare Incorporated Ordinance in 2003 to provide, on compassionate grounds, special ex-gratia assistance to those dependent family members of the deceased SARS patients, to some recovered SARS as well as 'suspected' SARS patients treated with steroids ('Suspected' patients treated with steroids refer to those who were clinically diagnosed as having SARS on admission, treated with steroids as medication for SARS, but turned out subsequently not to have SARS) suffering from longer term effects, attributable to the effects of steroids received. FC had further approved a total injection of $100 million to the Fund in 2007 and 2011 respectively. As announced by the Chief Executive in her 2017 Policy Address, another $50 million would be injected into the Fund to continue to provide support for SARS patients and their families.
The purview of the Fund would be confined to those patients, who are Hong Kong residents, clinically diagnosed as having SARS during the outbreak in Hong Kong from March to June 2003. With effect from 1 January 2006, no new application would be accepted unless the Hospital Authority has tentatively confirmed that there is medical indication that the potential applicant is likely to be suffering from SARS-related dysfunction(s).
The assistance is special and ex-gratia in nature, on a without admission of liability basis and is to be administered by the Director of Social Welfare in consultation with an independent Committee.