Seven nucleic acid testing professionals pose for a photo before passing through the customs in Shenzhen Bay Port. (Photo/Courtesy of Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission)
By Lian Jintian, People’s Daily
Many sectors and citizens in Hong Kong believe that the support from the Chinese mainland will beyond doubt address the pressing needs of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) regarding the COVID-19 epidemic.
In mid to late July, the COVID-19 situation in Hong Kong, which had once been easing, suddenly became serious. While calling on citizens to make concerted efforts to combat the epidemic, the HKSAR government rolled out a series of epidemic prevention and control measures.
At the request of the HKSAR government, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) promptly organized two medical supportive teams – one aimed at boosting local testing capacity, and another to help Hong Kong build Fangcang or “cabin” makeshift hospitals to deal with mild cases, under the command of the central government. On August 2, seven members of the testing team arrived in Hong Kong.
The central government dispatched people to help build makeshift hospitals in Hong Kong and assist the city in conducting nucleic acid tests, which has quickly increased the number of hospital beds and would play an important role in the epidemic prevention and control in Hong Kong, said Henry Fan Hung-ling, chairman of Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority (HA).
The spread of COVID-19 in Hong Kong is beyond the capacity of local medical resources, said Pan Pey-chyou, chairman of Hong Kong Medical and Health Care Staff General Union, noting that the assistance from the Chinese mainland came just in time and would certainly help Hong Kong pull through the difficult time.
It’s a blessing for Hong Kong citizens that the Chinese mainland has sent medical workers to the special administrative region for its fight against the epidemic this time, remarked Bill Tang Ka-piu, head of the Kowloon East Office of Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions.
Many Hong Kong netizens expressed their gratitude to the central government online. “Every time when Hong Kong encounters difficulties, our motherland is there for us,” a comment read.
In fact, various national departments of China have been providing support for Hong Kong in its fight against COVID-19 since the outbreak of the epidemic.
From adjusting railway operation arrangements to reducing the number of flights to Hong Kong and suspending travel permits to the city, relevant departments have tried their best to cooperate with the HKSAR government and support the implementation of its various anti-epidemic measures.
When about 2,500 Hong Kong residents were stranded by the COVID-19 outbreak in Central China’s Hubei Province, the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR sent five batches of medicines and supplies to Hubei for them in coordination with the HKSAR government.
In February, Chinese diplomats communicated with relevant parties and coordinated efforts to help HKSAR government bring several hundred Hong Kong passengers stranded on the novel coronavirus-inflicted Diamond Princess cruise ship back from Japan with chartered flights.
At the onset of the epidemic, the central government responded promptly to Hong Kong’s needs and immediately made efforts to ensure the supply of the materials for Hong Kong, including deploying 17 million face masks to the SAR.
Meanwhile, various mainland bases providing supplies for Hong Kong had operated at full capacity to ensure that food materials like vegetables, dairy products, eggs, grain, and cooking oil could be supplied to Hong Kong continuously.
In addition, Chinese mainland-funded companies in Hong Kong made all-out efforts to support and participate in the SAR’s fight against COVID-19.
Besides making large amounts of donations, trading companies increased purchases of protective equipment, and energy companies worked to ensure uninterrupted petrol supply, no price rise and unimpeded services. All these efforts had played significant roles in stabilizing the Hong Kong market.
On July 24, when Hong Kong was faced with soaring confirmed COVID-19 cases and a shortage of beds in public hospitals, the SAR government started using a community isolation facility newly built by a mainland company at Lei Yue Mun Park and Holiday Village to receive asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and COVID-19 patients in a relatively stable condition.
The isolation facility, which has been regarded as the Hong Kong version of the Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, was built by China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), who established an elite working team that worked around the clock to ensure rapid construction.
At present, mainland virus testing agencies are also providing services for Hong Kong citizens. Sunrise Diagnostic Centre established in Hong Kong by Chinese biotech company BGI Genomics can test about 5000 specimens a day. Guangzhou KingMed Diagnostics Group Co., Ltd. headquartered in Guangzhou, capital of South China’s Guangdong Province, is mobilizing resources to support Hong Kong, upgrading and increasing the capacity of its lab in Hong Kong, which is also a testing agency accredited by the SAR government.
Another testing agency recognized by the Hong Kong government, Hong Kong Molecular Pathology Diagnostic Centre, a subsidiary of Guangdong Hybribio Biotech Co.,Ltd. in Chaozhou, Guangdong, has also joined the virus testing force for Hong Kong quickly.
The team sent to Hong Kong to boost local testing capacity consists of about 60 professionals selected and dispatched by the Health Commission of Guangdong Province from more than 20 public hospitals in Guangdong. Yu Dewen, who had worked as the commander in chief of Guangdong’s medical assistance team to Wuhan, was appointed as the head of the testing team to Hong Kong.
The team to help Hong Kong build Fangcang hospitals consists of six medical experts from Wuhan. Headed by Wan Jun, vice president of the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University and president of the Fangcang temporary hospital in Wuchang district of Wuhan, the team has rich experiences in fighting the virus in Wuhan’s Fangcang hospitals. The experts on the team will provide technical support for Hong Kong to transform the SAR’s AsiaWorld-Expo into a makeshift hospital.
“We will bring Wuhan’s experience in fighting the epidemic in Fangcang hospitals to Hong Kong,” Wan said.
Cooperation between the mainland assistance teams and the three virus testing agencies of mainland companies in Hong Kong will significantly improve the COVID-19 testing capacity of Hong Kong in a short time, said Yu. Medical workers in Hong Kong also believe that the arrival of professionals from Chinese mainland has boosted the morale and confidence of Hong Kong in its fight against the disease.
Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission promptly responded to the request of the HA and raised massive medical supplies and shipped them to Hong Kong in batches.
It’s believed that the Chinese mainland and the HKSAR will certainly defeat the COVID-19 resurgence through concerted efforts and show the world a great story about fighting the COVID-19 with solidarity.
Hong Kong residents welcome the seven virus testing professionals from the Chinese mainland outside Hong Kong’s “Fangcang hospital” transformed from the AsiaWorld-Expo with Chinese national flag and a banner that read “Thank you, our motherland, for your care and support for Hong Kong,” August 2. (Photo/CCTV News)
Hong Kong citizens wave huge Chinese national flag and the flag of the HKSAR, holding a board saying “Salute the advance team”. (Photo/CCTV News)
Photo shows a Hong Kong citizen welcoming the seven nucleic acid testing professionals from the Chinese mainland. (Photo/CCTV News)
Photo shows a truck loaded with anti-epidemic supplies heading from Shenzhen to Hong Kong. (Photo/Courtesy of Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission)