Chinese mainland to help HKSAR curb rising COVID-19 caseload
Updated 23:24, 12-Feb-2022
Residents queue at a COVID-19 testing facility in the Shatin area of Hong Kong, China, February 10, 2022. /CFP

Residents queue at a COVID-19 testing facility in the Shatin area of Hong Kong, China, February 10, 2022. /CFP

The Chinese mainland will provide COVID-19 prevention assistance, including sending an expert team and enhancing testing capabilities, for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak there.

A meeting on Saturday between representatives from the HKSAR and the Chinese mainland in south China's Shenzhen City discussed Hong Kong's COVID-19 situation. Officials discussed policies and measures on how the Chinese mainland can support the region to curb the rising COVID-19 caseload.

The delegation from Hong Kong, headed by John Lee Ka-chiu, Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR government, met with officials and health experts from the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, the National Health Commission, the National Administration of Disease Prevention and Control,  the Guangdong provincial government and Shenzhen municipal government. 

Lee said the region is not considering imposing a lockdown at the moment as he is confident that social distancing could be effective in the current scenario, according to local media Radio Television Hong Kong on Saturday.

Lee said the HKSAR made several requests at the meeting. The region asked the Chinese mainland to send experts to assist in conducting pathological investigations and analyses. Hong Kong also hopes the Chinese mainland can help the region enhance its testing capabilities, build up quarantine facilities and provide testing kits and other resources.

According to Lee, the central government and Guangdong Province agreed to secure the supply of fresh food, vegetables and daily necessities to Hong Kong. They will also set up a special team consisting of disease experts, testing, quarantine, and medical aid personnel to make plans.

On Friday, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council spokesperson reiterated the central government's full support for the HKSAR in countering the latest COVID-19 wave.

On Saturday, local health authorities revealed that the HKSAR reported 1,514 confirmed new COVID-19 cases within the past 24 hours.

The region has reported more than 5,500 infections over the past two weeks, taking the total tally of infections above 18,000 as of Saturday, according to data from the Center for Health Protection of the HKSAR's Department of Health.

Since the start of a mass inoculation program in February last year, about 5.51 million people, or 81.8 percent of the eligible population in Hong Kong, have taken at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Over 4.93 million, or 73.3 percent of the eligible population, have taken two doses. In addition, more than 1.15 million people in the region have taken their third booster shot.

On Thursday, Carrie Lam, chief executive of the HKSAR, said that "dynamic zero COVID-19" is the best strategy for Hong Kong's current anti-epidemic situation.

The meeting on Saturday was the second one between the HKSAR and the mainland. The first meeting was convened in December 2020. 

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