Central govt health official hopes for zero virus infections in HK
HONG KONG - Ma Xiaowei, director of the National Health Commission, said on Monday that he hoped Hong Kong will soon achieve the goal of "zero infection" of COVID-19 so as to resume normal personnel exchanges with the mainland.
Ma made the remarks in a video speech at the opening ceremony of Hong Kong's Hospital Authority (HA) Convention 2021.
Deeply concerned about the health and well-being of Hong Kong people, the central authorities have paid high attention to the development of the epidemic in Hong Kong and provided assistance for enhancing the COVID-19 testing capacity here, Ma said.
He also appreciated the unremitting efforts of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government in fighting the pandemic, noting that the number of daily new cases in Hong Kong has now returned to a low level.
Ma said the National Health Commission will strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the healthcare industry in Hong Kong, including working together in preventing and controlling the pandemic, and deepening medical and health cooperation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
He called on Hong Kong medical professionals to go and work in the mainland and also encouraged Hong Kong's healthcare industry to leverage its geographical and language strengths and seek cooperation with all countries and regions in the world.
Chief Executive of the HKSAR Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said that Hong Kong is one of the few places in the world in which every COVID-19 patient is being properly cared for, in terms of isolation and treatment, in public hospitals and related facilities. The Hospital Authority and healthcare workers have worked throughout the pandemic with courage and dedication.
Lam said that since the first infected case was detected in Hong Kong, the HKSAR government set up a high level Steering Committee and appointed an Expert Advisory Panel, joining hands with all sectors to fight the pandemic.
The HKSAR government has been highly transparent about its anti-epidemic initiatives and will continue to promote objective understanding through various means, with a view to restoring and building trust in the community, she said.
Henry Fan Hung-ling, chairman of the Hospital Authority, said the HA staff have done an outstanding job in safeguarding the health of the Hong Kong community. He also thanked the central government and the HKSAR government for their unwavering support in combating COVID-19.
"The swift setting up of the Community Treatment Facility at AsiaWorld-Expo and the North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Center has significantly enhanced resilience and capability of the public healthcare system in fighting the pandemic," Fan said.
At the meeting, Zhong Nanshan, China's renowned respiratory disease expert, said in a video speech that aggressive containment actions have been taken since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the mainland, including lockdown and building makeshift hospitals, resulting in effective control of the pandemic.
He said that all governments should always keep an eye on community containment, and strike a balance between resumption of living order and containment of the pandemic. Hong Kong has been doing well in this regard.
"No country is safe until all countries are safe," Zhong said, adding that it is important to establish herd immunity through mass vaccination so as to reduce the chance of the emergence of new variants.
David Hui, a respiratory medicine expert from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said that cautious border control is important to prevent importation of COVID-19 cases, especially mutant viruses.
He added that both vaccines now available in Hong Kong are effective in reducing the risk of symptomatic infection.
The two-day convention was held online and offline due to the pandemic situation, providing a platform for healthcare professionals to exchange views and experiences.