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Published: 12:14, April 01, 2022 | Updated: 17:38, April 03, 2022
City required to take forceful action against the outbreak
By Oswald Chan and Zhang Tianyuan in Hong Kong
Published:12:14, April 01, 2022 Updated:17:38, April 03, 2022 By Oswald Chan and Zhang Tianyuan in Hong Kong

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po (second from right) cheers up civil servants and volunteers as they pack anti-epidemic service kits at Shun Lee Tsuen Sports Centre in Kwun Tong. The kits, each containing KN95 masks, rapid antigen test agents, and traditional Chinese medicine capsules, will be distributed to 3 million Hong Kong households this month. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Xia Baolong, vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee and director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government needs to take forceful action to prevent the importation of infections and a rebound in COVID-19 cases.

The severity of the fifth wave, the possibility that the number of daily cases may rebound, and the complexity of the anti-pandemic task must be fully recognized, Xia Baolong, vice-chairman of the CPPCC National Committee said

Xia made the remark at a video conference on Wednesday during the 10th meeting of a top-level group coordinating the Chinese mainland's assistance to Hong Kong as the city battles the current wave of the coronavirus.

The SAR government should "further step up to shoulder the main responsibilities, making good use of the support provided by the central government, ensuring the proper distribution of supplies, utilizing COVID-19 facilities, and making full efforts to reduce deaths, severe cases, and infections," Xia said.

The severity of the fifth wave, the possibility that the number of daily cases may rebound, and the complexity of the anti-pandemic task must be fully recognized, Xia said. The task force that supports Hong Kong from the mainland must adhere to scientific and precise principles to combat COVID-19, he said.

READ MORE: COVID-19 battle puts TCM in the spotlight

A resident (center) receives a COVID-19 vaccine from an outreach medical team at Sun Kit House, Sun Chui Estate in Sha Tin on March 31, 2022. The government has launched a door-to-door vaccination service to ensure those who have difficulty leaving their homes can get vaccinated. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Six makeshift hospital and isolation facilities with a total of about 20,000 beds have been completed with the support of the central government, alleviating the overwhelmed local medical system. In March, about 400 medical workers from the mainland came to Hong Kong, and are helping to treat COVID-19 patients.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said a medical team will visit more than 1,000 care homes in April to vaccinate older adults who have recovered from the COVID-19.

Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said the government plans to launch a door-to-door program to vaccinate those aged 70 or older, and the disabled. There is an online registration platform now open for people in need.

The government said the packaging of the anti-pandemic kits has been progressing well, and all 3.5 million kits will be ready by Saturday.

"As the rapid antigen test agent is included in the anti-pandemic kit, we are mulling whether this relatively accurate and convenient tool can be utilized to help the government gauge the city's current COVID-19 infection-case situation in a short period of time," said Lam.

"Although the current COVID-19 infection case is easing, the pace of easing is not fast, so the government needs to closely monitor the pandemic situation," Lam said.

Lam said the central government has accepted a request to send the mainland expert group on traditional Chinese medicine to provide care for older patients showing mild or no symptoms of COVID-19 at the Kai Tak Holding Centre. The facility has around 1,200 beds in total. Two oral medications for curing COVID-19 will be offered to patients with a prescription for the drug at the holding center.

ALSO READ: HK introduces new access rules for holding centers

Hong Kong confirmed 6,646 new positive cases on Thursday as part of the latest downward trend, bringing the tally of confirmed cases to over 1.14 million. Another 119 people died from causes linked to COVID-19, bringing the total death toll to 7,612.

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