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People's Daily Online

Postponement of LegCo election timely move to protect Hong Kong people: former WHO chief

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 12:33, August 02, 2020

HONG KONG, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- The postponement of the 2020 Legislative Council (LegCo) General Election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is a timely move to protect the health and well-being of Hong Kong residents, Margaret Chan, former director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said on Saturday.

"As the Emeritus Director-General of the World Health Organization and a member of the Hong Kong community, I strongly support the HKSAR government's timely and decisive decision to postpone the Legislative Council election on Sept. 6, 2020 to protect the health and well-being of the Hong Kong people," Chan said.

"Indeed, more than 60 countries worldwide have postponed elections to reduce the risk of infection by the novel coronavirus which is raging around the world," she noted in an article published in an English newspaper.

Describing the third wave of the COVID-19 infection in Hong Kong as "very worrying", Chan pointed out that the very rapid rate of increase in daily cases, especially in the densely populated environment of Hong Kong, and the long incubation period and asymptomatic infection are also unpredictable, making the control of this infection very difficult.

"Our healthcare system and the healthcare workers are already overwhelmed and we need to protect them as well. If the current trend of infection continues, our health systems could collapse, and this is the last thing we want to see."

Praising the HKSAR government in taking swift steps to request assistance from the mainland to increase the local health system capacities in quick detection by testing and in increasing isolation beds facilities, the former WHO chief emphasized that "solidarity and collaboration are precisely what we need to fightback the virus".

"In addition, one cannot stress enough the very important role and discipline of the general public in the use of masks, social distancing and personal hygiene to minimize the risk of infection," Chan said. "Any wait-and-see mentality, any attempt to downplay the epidemic situation and delayed action will bring disastrous consequences."

Warning that the pandemic is not over yet and the novel coronavirus is the most "cunning" virus she has ever seen in her 40 years in global health, Chan said "it certainly has the ability to make a strong comeback and cause havoc anytime, anywhere including in Hong Kong."

"Therefore, strong vigilance and resolute efforts are crucial to stop the virus making a comeback," she added.

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