HK govt secures 4,400 hotel rooms for isolation
HONG KONG – The Hong Kong government has secured about 4,400 hotel rooms to be used as isolation facilities for COVID-19 patients with mild or no symptoms, with around 1,700 to be made available for use by this week.
The announcement was made as Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor met with hotel owners via a webinar on Wednesday to seek their support for the government's Community Isolation Facility Hotel Scheme. The scheme aims to provide accommodation to isolate people who test positive for COVID-19 but have no or mild symptoms.
In a statement, the government said Lam’s meeting with The Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners was "highly constructive." It added that the remaining 2,300 rooms will be available for use before the end of next week.
During the meeting, Lam expressed gratitude to the hotel owners, which had been a close partner of the government's anti-epidemic work in the past two years. Designated hotels have been used for arrivals from overseas or close contacts of locally confirmed cases who had to undergo quarantine.
In view of the unprecedented surge in confirmed cases that had surpassed the government's isolation capacity, the CIF Hotel Scheme was critically important to address the current bottleneck, according to the statement. The scheme would also redress the unsatisfactory situation of many people who had tested positive and were waiting at home for transfer to isolation facilities.
Lam is optimistic about reaching the target of identifying 10,000 hotel rooms under the scheme. She said that the government will provide essential infection control training to the staff of the participating hotels.
To encourage the participation of more hotels, the government could also take over the day-to-day activities such as allocation of rooms and cleansing if the hotel prefers so, she added.
Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung has been assigned to oversee the operation of the scheme with the support of the relevant government departments and some 1,000 retirees of various disciplinary forces recruited to help.
Lam said members of the public should "display Hong Kong spirit in full" and join hands to combat the fifth wave.
"With the utmost concern and staunch support of President Xi Jinping as conveyed to me by Vice-Premier of the State Council Han Zheng, all in society must now join hands in riding out the fifth wave of the epidemic, displaying the Hong Kong spirit in full," Lam said.
By Wang Zhan