Mainland's pandemic aid to HK crucial
China Daily

Fifteen medical workers at First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University depart Guangzhou, Guangdong province, for Hong Kong to help with the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic, March 16, 2022. [Photo:CHINA DAILY]

The fifth wave of the COVID-19 outbreaks in Hong Kong is fading, with daily confirmed cases and deaths in decline. And it should be noted that the central authorities' aid plays a very important role in helping the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in its fight against the novel coronavirus. Through this round it is clear that Hong Kong can more effectively contain the pandemic by working with the motherland.

Since March the central authorities have helped the Hong Kong SAR government cope with the fifth wave of infections and the resulting shortage of supplies and medical staff by strengthening pandemic response, providing testing kits, and improving treatment and quarantine facilities, as well as ensuring food supply.

First, the expert teams sent by the central government helped the Hong Kong SAR government set the right direction in its fight against the virus. In other words, the highly experienced experts from the Chinese mainland helped the Hong Kong authorities to focus on the critical task, that is, to provide proper medical care for the patients, with special focus on eldercare.

The SAR government has now shifted its attention to senior citizens, and is providing them with proper medical care on the advice of the expert teams.

Second, the central authorities helped the city by advising it to take effective prevention and control measures, which gave the Hong Kong SAR government some breathing space. In absolute terms, the central government has provided Hong Kong with thousands of hospital beds in mobile temporary hospitals set up for quarantining the infected people.

The makeshift hospitals have significantly increased Hong Kong's quarantining capacity in a relatively short time. For example, the quarantining facility in Tsing Yi became operational after only seven days of construction.

Apart from helping build the makeshift hospitals, the central government has also sent numerous medical teams to Hong Kong to support the operations of those hospitals, and to conduct testing and vaccination programs. The aid teams have also provided huge amounts of testing kits and Western and traditional Chinese medicines for the treatment of tens of thousands of patients in Hong Kong.

Furthermore, the mainland has been supplying fresh meat and vegetables to Hong Kong. In mid-February, Hong Kong suffered a temporary disruption in the supplies of vegetables, meat and poultry after some cross-border truck drivers tested positive for COVID-19.

Since Hong Kong relies on the mainland for nearly 90 percent of its food requirements, the disruption in supplies resulted in a shortage of grocery. But the central authorities worked with the SAR government to make detailed arrangements and resume normal food supply, including vegetables and frozen meat, to Hong Kong.

In short, the central government has been providing crucial help for Hong Kong. And Hong Kong and the motherland have been working closely in these hard times, and will continue to do so in the future.

The author is the president of Chu Hai College of Higher Education in Hong Kong and former pro-vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong.

This is an excerpt from his interview with China Daily's Zhao Manfeng. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.