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HK Introduces UV Index Forecast Service
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The Hong Kong Observatory Thursday announced the launch of its Ultraviolet (UV) Index forecast service.

The new service will enable people to adopt appropriate protective measures against possible harm from UV radiation when planning outdoor activities.

At 5:00 PM everyday, starting from Thursday, a forecast of the maximum UV Index for the following day will be provided. When the UV index is expected to be 11 (corresponding to an extreme UV level) or above, people will be reminded of the need to take protective measures, such as avoiding prolonged exposure under the sun.

In a press conference, Assistant Director of the Observatory Lee Boon-ying explained that UV radiation from the sun to reach the earth after passing through the atmosphere may be modified by a number of weather factors.

By forecasting the weather situation for the next day, the Observatory calculates the corresponding UV index. The purpose of issuing the forecast UV index is to assist people, especially those frequently engaged in outdoor activities, to take necessary protections against exposure to UV, said he.

Also at the press conference was Principal Medical and Health Officer of the Department of Health Dr Ng Chi-cheung. He said that moderate exposure to the sun was good to people's health, but overexposure to UV could induce skin and eye injury, cataract and skin cancer.

"On days when the UV Index is on the high side, one should wear a hat, use an umbrella, wear suitable clothing and apply sunscreen lotion to protect the body. The Observatory's forecast UV Index enables people to make the necessary precautions against changes in UV," Dr Ng said.

The UV forecast information can be obtained through radio, television, Dial-a-Weather service, the Observatory's website and Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) website.

(Xinhua News Agency May 12, 2006)

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