Government strengthens anti-epidemic command structure (with photos)
The Chief Executive (CE), Mr John Lee, chaired anti-epidemic meetings two days in a row to enhance the structure of the anti-epidemic system. Mr Lee convened the first meeting of the Anti-epidemic Steering Committee in the current-term Government yesterday (July 27). The meeting decided to systematically strengthen the command structure in fighting the epidemic, including:
- establishing the Command and Coordination Group (CCG) overseen by the CE to cope with the evolving epidemic situation and effectively co-ordinate the anti-epidemic efforts cutting across different policy bureaux in order to ensure that different bureaux and government departments can respond swiftly;
- setting up a CCG Office under the CCG, with the Secretary for Health as the Director of the Office, to study, recommend and take forward anti-epidemic proposals and measures; and
- appointing task groups or solution teams under the CCG on specified issues or areas, each of which to be led by a Principal Official or Head of Department, to formulate specific measures and plans on different aspects, and liaise with different bureaux and departments to solve problems together.
The CCG is chaired by the CE, with standing members comprising the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS), the Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration (DCS), the Secretary for Health, the Secretary for the Civil Service, the Secretary for Environment and Ecology, the Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs, the Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, the Secretary for Security and the Secretary for Transport and Logistics. Other Principal Officials will participate on the basis of policy and operational needs.
At its first meeting today, the CCG decided to set up 13 task groups or solution teams, comprising:
- Task Group on Epidemic Control Measures to formulate and implement epidemic control measures, to be led by the Secretary for Health;
- Task Group on Anti-epidemic Technology to steer the application of technology to augment the implementation of anti-epidemic measures, to be led by the Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry;
- Task Group on Designated Quarantine Hotels to implement and oversee the Designated Quarantine Hotel Scheme, to be led by the Secretary for Health;
- Task Group on Testing to implement and oversee the provision of testing services and testing operations, to be led by the Secretary for Health;
- Task Group on Community Isolation Facilities to oversee the management of the Community Isolation Facilities, to be led by the Secretary for Security;
- Task Group on Anti-epidemic Transportation to implement and oversee the provision of point-to-point transportation for anti-epidemic purposes, to be led by the Secretary for Transport and Logistics;
- Task Group on Anti-epidemic Publicity to implement and oversee anti-epidemic publicity campaigns, to be led by the Director of Information Services;
- Task Group on Vaccination to formulate and implement measures to boost vaccination uptake, especially targeting the elderly and children, to be led by the Secretary for the Civil Service;
- Task Group on Mobilisation of Civil Servants to plan and mobilise civil servants to support anti-epidemic operations, to be led by the Secretary for the Civil Service;
- Task Group on Liaison with the Mainland to liaise with the Mainland to achieve joint prevention and control, to be led by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs;
- Task Group on Sewage Surveillance to implement and oversee sewage surveillance work, to be led by the Secretary for Environment and Ecology;
- Task Group on Residential Care Homes for the Elderly (RCHEs) to plan and implement measures for the protection of the elderly in RCHEs, to be led by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare; and
- Solution Team for Major Events to oversee and plan the relevant epidemic containing measures when hosting intended major events, to be led by the CS/DCS.
Mr Lee said, "The Government will continue to formulate targeted anti-epidemic strategies taking into account the epidemic developments and scientific analysis so as to achieve the greatest effects with the lowest costs, thereby protecting the lives and health of citizens while minimising the impact on normal social activities.
"Among all, since the commencement of the current-term Government some four weeks ago, we have announced and implemented various science-based anti-epidemic enhancements, which include suspending the route-specific flight suspension mechanism, increasing the number of nucleic acid tests for inbound persons, mandating persons under home isolation to put on electronic wristbands to ensure their compliance with the isolation orders, and launching the online booking system for departure special nucleic acid testing service at Shenzhen Bay Control Point. We are also reviewing the quarantine period for people arriving in Hong Kong via the airport, exploring the use of technology and more precise methods to reduce restrictions during the period.
"The enhanced anti-epidemic command structure will strengthen and expedite the decision-making process, enabling more effective commands to ensure the accurate implementation of anti-epidemic measures and enhance the co-ordination of anti-epidemic efforts across different bureaux and departments."
The Government announced the Preparedness and Response Plan for Novel Infectious Disease of Public Health Significance in early January 2020. The response level was raised to its highest Emergency Response Level on January 25 in the same year by the Anti-epidemic Steering Committee chaired by the then CE.
The meeting of the Anti-epidemic Steering Committee chaired by Mr Lee yesterday agreed that the Steering Committee would continue to be in operation to formulate the overall and long-term policies in fighting the epidemic, that the CE would continue to chair the Committee, and that the Emergency Response Level will be maintained.
Ends/Thursday, July 28, 2022
Issued at HKT 19:23
Issued at HKT 19:23