150,000 boxes of traditional Chinese medicines donated by mainland arrive in Hong Kong

HONG KONG, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The first batch of 150,000 boxes of anti-epidemic traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) donated by the Chinese mainland, as well as some other anti-epidemic supplies ordered previously arrived at Hong Kong on Sunday.

Physicians sort traditional Chinese medicine at a hospital in Yingkou, Liaoning province, on Sunday. TCM has been put forward as a treatment for COVID-19. (Photo: Xinhua)

"The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government is grateful to the central government for its care of the people of Hong Kong and its strong support for the city's anti-epidemic efforts," said Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau, who led a task force of ensuring medical supplies including coordinating medical supplies from the mainland to Hong Kong.

Yau stressed that by leveraging the central authorities' guidance based on their experience in fighting the epidemic, as well as their manpower and resource support, the HKSAR government will spare no effort in combating the fifth wave of the epidemic.

He said that the task force is working at full speed to coordinate the deliveries, ensuring that the large number of medical supplies including rapid antigen test (RAT) kits, masks, medicines, protective gear and medical products from the mainland are delivered to Hong Kong and distributed to relevant departments, organizations and residents in an orderly manner.

To enhance the capability of "early identification, early isolation and early treatment of the infected," the HKSAR government is procuring over 100 million RAT kits to substantially ramp up Hong Kong's capacity of rapid testing. The kits will be distributed as a priority to specified high-risk and target groups of people. The first batch of 10 million RAT kits provided by the mainland has arrived in batches since Feb. 19.

Separately, over 300,000 boxes of different types of Chinese medicines will be delivered from the mainland to Hong Kong in batches. The first batch of 25 million KN95 masks provided by the mainland has also arrived in batches recently.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong on Sunday registered 6,067 new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, official data showed.

Since the start of a mass inoculation program in February last year, about 5.79 million people, or 85.9 percent of the eligible population in Hong Kong, have taken at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccines, while about 5.11 million, or 75.8 percent of the eligible population, have taken two doses. Over 1.45 million people have taken their third shot.