CHINA HK delays legislative elections to focus on coronavirus control

CHINA

HK delays legislative elections to focus on coronavirus control

CHINA DAILY

07:28, August 03, 2020

People wearing masks walk in the Central area of Hong Kong, July 27, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

Mainland aids SAR with experts, medical experience from early days of epidemic

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's grave pandemic situation has seen a ray of hope of being under control, with the nation's full support and local government's decision to defer the legislative elections, observers from various sectors held.

The remarks came as the city recorded triple-digit daily spikes in new cases for 12 consecutive days on Sunday. The case tally stood at 3,511 and 34 deaths.

Guangdong province has selected 60 virus testing technicians to support Hong Kong, and seven of them arrived in the city on Sunday. The province also pledged to offer more medical resources in view of Hong Kong's demands.

Wuhan, Hubei province, the Chinese city hit hardest by COVID-19, gained wide experience in building makeshift hospitals and will soon send six experts to help convert more parts of Hong Kong's Asia-World-Expo into mobile cabin hospitals and to build a new temporary hospital in the city.

Hong Kong's first makeshift hospital, built in AsiaWorld-Expo with assistance from mainland experts, began operations on Saturday as a triage center for patients. As of Sunday noon, 31 patients had been sent there.

Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po wrote in his blog on Sunday that the nation's aid is crucial for the HKSAR to overcome the virus as its pandemic-prevention strategies have been proven effective-most mainland cities have controlled the epidemic and gotten back on track.

Hong Kong needs to draw from this useful experience to contain the pandemic, Chan said.

Given the critical situation, the Hong Kong government announced on Friday it would delay the Legislative Council election for a year to Sept 5, 2021.

Tung Chee-hwa, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, described the decision as "lawful and reasonable" and said that careful consideration had been given to all factors to arrive at the best solution.

Another vice-chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, Leung Chun-ying, said the election delay would help the city focus on public health and restore normal economic activities.

He said that the opposition politicians criticizing the move were putting politics above public health.

Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, former director-general of the World Health Organization, cautioned that Hong Kong's healthcare system is already overwhelmed amid the raging pandemic. She warned of possible "disastrous consequences" if the epidemic situation were downplayed and actions were delayed.

In separate statements, the city's deputies to the National People's Congress and members of the CPPCC National Committee said the delay shows that government has prioritized public health.

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