Staff members work on Saturday at a triage center for COVID-19 patients that has been set up at AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong. The center is being assisted by Chinese mainland experts, and virus testing technicians from the mainland are being sent to help the city. [CALVIN NG/CHINA DAILY]
Hong Kong's inadequate testing capacity and isolation facilities have no doubt contributed to the difficulty of containing the latest surge in novel coronavirus infections in the special administrative region, which has seen the number of new infections staying at a triple-digit level for 12 consecutive days before declining to 80 cases on Monday.
To address these shortfalls, the SAR government has requested assistance from the Chinese mainland in a bid to get a grip on the latest outbreak.
With the assistance from the mainland, Hong Kong's testing capacity will be raised from the current 7,000 to 200,000 per day. The much enlarged testing capacity would hopefully help contain the latest spate of infections, the severest in Hong Kong so far. Large-scale testing has proved to be an effective means to cut transmission chains by helping identify asymptomatic patients.
Meanwhile, the setting up of makeshift hospitals with the assistance of mainland experts who participated in the construction of the emergency facilities that proved so effective in Wuhan will also help fend off the onslaught of the virus by reducing cross-infections.
These makeshift facilities are a timely stress-reliever on Hong Kong's public healthcare system, which has been overstretched by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. As of Monday, around 150 patients with confirmed symptoms were still waiting for admission into hospital, with some having been waiting to be admitted for nearly a week. Failing to immediately hospitalize these patients arguably increases the risk of community spread of the virus.
The severity of the latest outbreak has compromised Hong Kong's otherwise world-class public healthcare system and medical prowess. Tapping into mainland assistance is a sensible and necessary move to prevent the virus running wild in the SAR.
The mainland's epidemic control and prevention strategies have achieved remarkable results, and their effectiveness has been widely acknowledged. This is evidenced by the fact that the epidemic has been basically brought under control, except for its sporadic resurgence in some places.
Most Hong Kong residents welcome the mainland's assistance in fighting the coronavirus, as do people in many other places around the world that have received help from the country. The attempts by some political zealots in Hong Kong to undermine the anti-pandemic cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland by spreading various rumors have done nothing but demonstrated their preference for partisan interests over the protection of Hong Kong residents' health and lives.
Their coldhearted attempt to exploit the SAR government's move to better fulfill its duty of caring for Hong Kong residents only highlights how hollow ring their claims of upholding "civil rights", "freedom" and "democracy".