As Hong Kong battles a surge in coronavirus cases, city authorities said they are ramping up the provision of community isolation and treatment units helped by mainland construction teams, including the reprovisioning of a cruise ship terminal.
With a reported 6,063 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, February 19, the government said in a statement late on Saturday that the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal would be turned into a dedicated COVID facility with 1,000 beds to mitigate overburdened public hospitals.
Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam, who attended a ground-breaking ceremony at a construction site for 10,000 COVID-19 units at Penny’s Bay close to the city’s Disneyland resort, said she hoped the initiatives would “significantly enhance” the financial hub’s anti-epidemic capacity.
“We are under a critical situation amid this smokeless battle,” Lam said in a statement.
Some experts and critics say Hong Kong’s “dynamic zero-COVID” policies, mirroring those in mainland China, have contributed to current woes and are unsustainable, experts say.
China has sent medical personnel and equipment including mobile testing units to Hong Kong to help, with authorities saying the outbreak could take up to three months to stabilize.
The chief executive election, initially scheduled for March, will be postponed to May, adding to uncertainty about the former British colony’s future as Beijing imposes its rule. – Rappler.com