CE inspects anti-epidemic work (with photos/video)
In the morning, Mrs Lam, accompanied by the Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan and the Secretary for Development, Mr Michael Wong, started the visit at the Junior Police Call activity centre in Pat Heung to learn about the works progress of the conversion of part of the facilities of the centre into a quarantine centre. Mrs Lam noted that the contractor, under the supervision of the Architectural Services Department, is working at full steam on the conversion project. It is expected that installation of fittings will be finished in February, providing about 90 units upon completion and they are ready for use once necessary supplies are in place. In addition, the Government will construct more quarantine facilities on the vacant land in the centre with Modular Integrated Construction. Installation of fittings is expected to be completed in April, providing an extra of about 100 quarantine units.
Given adequate quarantine centre facilities are of paramount importance to anti-epidemic work, Mrs Lam said apart from using holiday camps as quarantine centres, the Government has been proactively identifying suitable locations to provide more units since the beginning of the infection. While she understands the concerns of the residents in the neighbourhoods, she appeals to members of the public to support the establishment of such facilities in the spirit of fighting the disease in unison. Reiterating that the operation of the quarantine centres needs to comply with stringent requirements with law enforcement and healthcare officers on duty round the clock, she said that people subject to quarantine will be transferred in and out of the centres by dedicated vehicles and not allowed to move freely in the community. The facilities therefore have only minimal impacts on residents nearby. She said that the Government will explain more to members of the public the operation of the quarantine centres and appeals to residents of relevant districts for their understanding and tolerance.
Mrs Lam and Professor Chan then proceeded to the Shenzhen Bay Control Point which they also visited on February 8, the first day of the implementation of compulsory quarantine on people entering Hong Kong from the Mainland. The implementation of compulsory quarantine has been smooth in general, with a significant drop in the number of cross-boundary flow of people. As at yesterday, 7 858 people were subject to compulsory quarantine, of which around 90 per cent were Hong Kong residents, and a large majority of them underwent home quarantine.
To enhance surveillance with technology, all persons under compulsory quarantine are now required by the Government to activate the sharing of their real-time locations with their mobile phones at the boundary control points, otherwise they will be immediately required to wear electronic wristbands to help personnel of the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) monitor whether they are staying at the dwelling places. In addition, staff members of the Department of Health (DH) will continue to contact people under quarantine by phone calls to provide health information and members of the disciplinary forces will conduct spot checks on them. Starting yesterday (February 15), apart from the Police, officers of the Fire Services Department, the Immigration Department, the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) and the Correctional Services Department have been taking part in spot checks. The officers will wear their uniform or a vest of their respective departments and produce their warrant cards during spot checks.
Stressing that the Government will ensure the effective implementation of the compulsory quarantine, Mrs Lam said that if the persons under quarantine cannot be contacted, the Police will consider issuing wanted warrants against them. The Department of Justice and the DH are considering prosecutions against offenders. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for six months and a fine of $25,000.
Mrs Lam and Professor Chan also inspected goods clearance at the Shenzhen Bay Control Point. Noting earlier that the number of cross-boundary goods vehicle trips had increased incrementally since February 10, she confirmed once again with C&ED front-line officers this morning that goods vehicle arriving in Hong Kong are continuously delivering various daily necessities. She stressed that anti-epidemic measures have not affected cross-boundary freight services of people's daily necessities and appealed to people that there is no need to worry about it.
Next, Mrs Lam and Professor Chan visited the Infectious Disease Centre of Princess Margaret Hospital where they received a briefing by the Chairman of the Hospital Authority (HA), Mr Henry Fan, the Chief Executive of the HA, Dr Tony Ko and healthcare personnel on work to tackle the infection and view the isolation wards which are under renovation to know about the operation of the facilities. Mrs Lam lauded the hard work by members of the HA to tackle the virus and she particularly paid tribute and expressed gratitude to the front-line healthcare workers who have been sparing no efforts to care for patients day and night. She said that the Government is in full support of the anti-epidemic work in hospitals, including the proposal to allocate $4.7 billion to the HA from the Anti-epidemic Fund of the Government for relevant purposes.
"The epidemic is still severe, members of all the Government departments and the HA will work together in their respective positions to tackle the disease. I also appeal to members of the public to pay attention to information released by the Government and support various work on prevention and control of the disease, including going out less to avoid social contact and enhancing personal hygiene," Mrs Lam said.
Mrs Lam earlier also visited Lei Yue Mun Park and Holiday Village to view the works progress on the construction of temporary units for quarantine purpose with Modular Integrated Construction and the temporary communication centre set up at the C&ED headquarters in North Point to inspect the work by personnel of the OGCIO to make sure people under quarantine are staying in their dwelling places with the real-time location sharing function.
"In addition to providing essential, emergency and limited public services to the public by various Government departments during the epidemic, thousands of current and retired civil service colleagues are working tirelessly to implement various anti-epidemic measures. I have no doubt with the concerted efforts of the Government and the people, Hong Kong will definitely win the battle against the disease," she said.
Ends/Sunday, February 16, 2020
Issued at HKT 20:34
Issued at HKT 20:34