Central authorities resolutely protect people's lives and health
Support from the country for Hong Kong is in full swing and help is on the way to rein in the city's worst wave of COVID-19 outbreak, said central authorities on Friday.
This support includes sending medical experts, testing staff and medical kits, as well as building quarantine and treatment facilities and ensuring stable supplies of fresh food and daily necessities.
A team of mainland experts from Guangdong province, Guangzhou and Zhongshan arrived in Hong Kong on Feb 17 for a five-day visit to assist in tackling Hong Kong's fifth wave of the pandemic. They attended a meeting with the task force of epidemiologists on Friday and received an in-depth introduction to the epidemiological investigations and analyses in Hong Kong.
On the same day, the city reported 3,629 new infection cases, while a further 7,600 people tested preliminarily positive.
The special administrative region government also announced that it will postpone the chief executive election - originally scheduled for March 27 - to May 8 due to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong.
Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, chaired a high-level meeting on Hong Kong's pandemic control efforts in Shenzhen on Friday. He commended the swift actions taken by central government departments and provincial authorities to support Hong Kong. He spoke highly of the progress made by different task forces, and called for unity and solidarity with Hong Kong compatriots to win the fight against the current outbreak in the city.
At the meeting, it was stressed the central government and mainland authorities should give full support to the Hong Kong SAR government under the leadership of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to curb the outbreak. Priorities include helping the city increase its capacity for testing and the capacity of its isolation facilities, and treating patients with severe symptoms.
Participants at the meeting also discussed plans to help construct makeshift hospitals, increase the supply of rapid test kits, dispatch more medical personnel to Hong Kong to help take test specimens, and ensure the stable supply of daily necessities including fresh food to the city.
In a statement, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council expressed understanding and support for the SAR government's decision to delay the election.
It was an essential, legal and reasonable move, which showcased the government's resolve to take all necessary measures to contain the pandemic by putting the lives and safety of the city's residents first, said the office.
The postponement will also be beneficial for the SAR government as it works to unite society in the battle against the pandemic, in order to protect residents' lives and ensure the stability of the city, the statement continued.
The central government and the authorities on the mainland are sparing no effort in supporting Hong Kong in its pandemic battle, and with that, the office believes that Hong Kong will win the fight, and that the concerted efforts of various sectors will play a part.
Supporting the SAR government's decision, the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said in a statement that the decision conforms with the actual needs of the city and is in line with the common aspiration of the public - to contain the pandemic.
Stressing that it was common practice around the globe, the office said many elections in other countries and regions have been postponed due to the pandemic since it first struck in 2020.
The office stressed that it is a crucial moment for Hong Kong to rein in the pandemic. It also expressed hopes for the city, empowered by the central government and the country, to win the battle with concerted effort from various sectors and people from all walks of life.
At a news conference, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she is grateful for the central government's help in the city's toughest COVID-19 fight.
She also said the city is ramping up its anti-pandemic efforts, including making plans for citywide virus testing to fend off the current wave of the pandemic, which she said is not expected to abate for at least two to three months.
Lam thanked the mainland medical expert team for visiting Hong Kong, which will help alleviate the city's medical burdens. She said she hopes more experts in the field of COVID-19 treatment will come to Hong Kong so that the city can learn from the mainland experts' experience.
With the central government's support, Hong Kong is beefing up all its anti-pandemic efforts, including preparing for mass testing, Lam said. Under the mass testing program, residents will be required to take two to three tests, she said, adding that there is no plan for a full lockdown of the city.
Luo Huining, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong, meets Hong Kong business leaders in a video conference on Friday. Provided to China Daily
Kang Min (second from left), director of Institute of the Infectious Disease Control and Prevention of the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, visits the Centre for Health Protection in Hong Kong on Friday with three other mainland epidemiological experts. They are greeted by Chuang Shuk-kwan (first from left), head of the Communicable Disease Branch of the CHP. Provided to China Daily
Copyright © Foreign Affairs Office of Guangzhou Municipal Government,
Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of Guangzhou Municipal Government All rights reserved.
Presented by China Daily.