Work starts on central govt-aided hospital in HK, response to COVID-19 outbreak
By Cui Fandi and Liu Caiyu Published: Mar 06, 2022 10:31 PM
On Sunday morning, the construction of a central government-aided hospital officially kicked off in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), which aims to contain the surging COVID-19 outbreak in the city.
Around 6 am on Sunday, more than 200 administrative staff and 1,700 workers from China State Construction Engineering Corp arrived at Lok Ma Chau Loop area, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The hospital, with 1,000 beds, is expected to improve Hong Kong's ability to treat patients by a great degree.
The hospital is one of the nine isolation facilities that will be built in HKSAR with the central government's assistance, providing a total of 50,000 beds, said Hong Kong's Chief Secretary John Lee.
The project at Lok Ma Chau Loop is the largest and most complex of all. A temporary bridge will connect the hospital with Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, allowing workers and supplies to go from point to point. The bridge was completed on Sunday morning, Hong Kong media outlet The Standard reported.
Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng, who is in charge of Hong Kong and Macao affairs, met with Hong Kong and Macao members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing during the annual session of the nation's top political advisory body, and also expressed the central government's full support for Hong Kong's COVID-19 fight, saying it is dedicated to protect the life of every Hong Kong resident.
Liang Wannian, head of the expert panel of COVID-19 response of China's National Health Commission, who leads an expert team sent by the central government to support Hong Kong's epidemic battle, said on Saturday night that it is not the time for Hong Kong to react negatively, and he urged the city to do its best to protect public health and life while calling on all walks of life in the city to take action to join the battle together.
Liang said that the expert team will continue to discuss and work closely with the relevant departments of the HKSAR government and experts, and make recommendations and opinions for the HKSAR government's reference when making decisions, local media reported.
The expert team's inspection is good for Hong Kong, as the team can quickly understand the outbreak situation and make useful suggestions based on experience, Jin Dongyan, a professor at the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Sunday.
Discussions are ongoing on whether to conduct mass nucleic acid testing, and how to conduct and move forward on that process, Jin said.
Chief Secretary John Lee said that the government is now listening to views from different sectors regarding mass testing. The government will come up with a plan based on the situation in Hong Kong and explain the details to the public.
A spokesperson for the HKSAR government on Saturday said that the government will firmly assume the main responsibility to fight against the epidemic, and its various departments will pull together to tame the outbreak as soon as possible.
The HKSAR reported 31,008 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, which is on a decreasing trend for three consecutive days, according to official statistics.
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