Penny's Bay Community Isolation Facility closing ceremony (with photos)

     The closing ceremony of the Penny's Bay Community Isolation Facility (PBCIF) was held today (March 1). It was officiated by the Under Secretary for Security, Mr Michael Cheuk. The Commissioner of the Civil Aid Service (CAS), Mr Lo Yan-lai; the Chief Staff Officer of the CAS, Mr Leung Kwun-hong; and representatives from various departments and organisations which had provided services for the PBCIF also attended the ceremony to witness the important moment marking the completion of mission by the anti-epidemic facility.
     Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Cheuk said that Hong Kong had met various challenges amid the COVID-19 epidemic in the past three years in the face of caseload and capability pressures, and that thanks to the support of the country and the concerted efforts of the community, great progress was made in the construction of quarantine or isolation facilities. Noting that the facilities in Penny's Bay had served more than 270 000 people in total, he expressed gratitude to the CAS which took charge of management, as well as the retirees of various disciplinary forces, the housekeeping assistants, and those from various government departments, private organisations and other collaborating units, for making contributions with their concerted efforts and commitment to safeguard Hong Kong, their home.
     The Penny's Bay Quarantine Centre (PBQC), which was officially put into operation on July 16, 2020, provided facilities for close contacts to undergo compulsory quarantine. For instance, in April 2021, more than a thousand residents were admitted to the PBQC within a short period of time after people at a housing development in Tung Chung had been found infected with a mutated strain of virus. In September 2021, two phases of the PBQC were designated for nearly 4 000 foreign domestic helpers to undergo quarantine. In addition, the facilities in Penny's Bay offered venues for infected persons to take the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination and eligible voters to cast votes in several major elections, including the 2021 Legislative Council General Election and the 2022 Chief Executive Election.
     Starting from February 2022, the PBQC was converted into the PBCIF for receiving low-risk patients amid the deterioration of the epidemic in Hong Kong, with special care given to the elderly and children to relieve the pressure of public hospitals. The operation of the PBCIF during the period was smooth, thanks to the collaborative efforts of different parties, including such department as the Health Bureau, the Auxiliary Medical Service, the Department of Health, the Hospital Authority, the Hong Kong Police Force, the Fire Services Department, the Social Welfare Department, the Architectural Services Department, the Drainage Services Department, the Highways Department and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, the contractors responsible for the modular integrated construction, and the private organisations providing cleaning, security and catering services. Together they joined hands with the CAS to tackle the heavy workload.
     Summarising the operations, Mr Leung said that the facilities in Penny's Bay had been in operation for 31 months with the number of units increasing from 1 500 in the early stage to nearly 10 000, covering an area of 1 million square metres. Since the commencement of operation, over 340 000 man-shifts of the CAS personnel had been mobilised, serving more than 270 000 people. During the peak of the epidemic, different measures were introduced to refine the management of the facilities in Penny's Bay, such as adopting a small-district management approach and setting up care teams.
     At the end of the ceremony, personnel of the CAS closed the gate of the PBCIF and Mr Cheuk put a "lock" on it, symbolising the completion of the anti-epidemic mission of the PBCIF and the return to normalcy of Hong Kong.

Ends/Wednesday, March 1, 2023
Issued at HKT 19:58