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Global Times

Mainland to offer COVID-19 vaccine to HK amid 'fourth wave'

Global Times

By Wang Qi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/26 0:03:40

Amid the fourth wave of the COVID-19 surge, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the Chinese central government had agreed to supply Hong Kong people with a vaccine.

Public health experts said the mainland can play a more important role in helping Hong Kong contain the epidemic and save lives.

Lam made the comments in her annual policy address on Wednesday, which also mentioned resuming Hong Kong-mainland personnel exchanges when the epidemic is tamed in the SAR.

But the "fourth wave" is severe as Hong Kong reported 80 infections on Tuesday, the highest in three months. The city has reported 392 COVID-19 cases since November 11, and the proportion of infections from unknown sources has surged, local health experts said.

Both Hong Kong and mainland experts believe that there is a hidden chain of transmission within communities. And the fourth wave may have been caused by imported cases.

Lam said on Wednesday that the HKSAR government may introduce large-scale community testing again. Media reported that Hong Kong will reopen two makeshift hospitals on Wednesday, treating young and mild patients.

The mainland vaccine can be administered first to people of high risk, such as medical staff, service workers, airport customs staff, mainland experts said, who believe that Hong Kong can also learn more from mainland experiences to contain the "fourth wave."

Wang Guangfa, a respiratory expert at Peking University First Hospital, told the Global Times that Hong Kong could expand its testing scale and cover key groups. It can also give regions different risk levels to advise residents to avoid some areas.

The rising proportion of unknown-source cases shows that Hong Kong needs to continue its efforts in epidemiological investigation, which is vital to contain the epidemic, said Wang, noting that the mainland could offer help if needed. "It is important to know where your enemy is when it comes to the virus source."

Pro-establishment Hong Kong legislator Junius Ho Kwan-yiu told the Global Times that he has suggested restraining the movement of people in some high-risk areas, and apply the health QR code similar to the mainland.

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