All Hongkongers returning from mainland China should be quarantined, city’s largest pro-Beijing party says as pressure piles on government to step up coronavirus fight

04-Feb-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong residents returning from mainland China should be put under home surveillance for two weeks, the city’s largest pro-establishment party has said, piling more pressure on the embattled government to step up measures against the coronavirus outbreak.

Lawmakers from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) on Monday also urged authorities to list surgical masks and alcohol gels as reserved commodities, to control sales and prices of such items.

“The government must take decisive and strict measures… because medical experts have warned that the coming two to three weeks will be critical in determining whether a community outbreak will take place in Hong Kong,” party chairwoman Starry Lee Wai-king said.

The coming two to three weeks will be critical in determining whether a community outbreak will take place in Hong Kong

Starry Lee, DAB chairwoman

DAB made the suggestions as the number of people infected by the coronavirus, which originated from the mainland Chinese city of Wuhan, rose to more than 17,300 around the world. More than 17,200 of those cases are in mainland China, while Hong Kong recorded its 15th case of infection on Sunday night.

The Hong Kong government is set to hold a press conference on quarantine arrangements on Monday afternoon.

Wuhan virusa visual explainer

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Friday rejected public calls for a total shutdown of the city’s borders to stem the spread of the disease, claiming it would be discriminatory.

But she promised to ramp up immigration restrictions by placing anyone returning from stricken Hubei province under quarantine, and appealed to Hong Kong residents returning from other places on the mainland to stay home for 14 days upon their return.

Currently, Hubei residents are banned from entering Hong Kong, but DAB vice-chair Gary Chan Hak-kan suggested the measures were not strong enough.

“We must ban anyone, except local residents, from entering Hong Kong from the mainland, unless they have certificates to prove that they are healthy,” he said.

“Hong Kong residents must be put under home surveillance and medical checks for 14 days. If we have enough [facilities], we should consider more measures, such as giving them electronic wristbands.”

Holden Chow Ho-ding, another vice-chair of the party, said products such as masks and alcohol gels should be listed under the Reserved Commodities Ordinance.

“The government can then limit sales and prices, as well as control the supply of these products,” he said, noting that since last week, local residents had been scrambling to buy such items, which were sold out in most shops.

DAB lawmaker Wilson Or Chong-shing noted the controversy over quarantine facilities near residential zones. He proposed that the government should consider building new camps on a site initially marked for Hong Kong Disneyland Resort’s expansion on Lantau Island, or even rent cruise ships.


Category: Hong Kong

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