Published: 01:13, February 6, 2020 | Updated: 08:16, June 6, 2023
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City chief remains optimistic about controlling coronavirus
By Chen Zimo, Kathy Zhang and Gu Mengyan

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Wednesday that with the concerted efforts of the government, medical personnel and society at large, the city will be able to fight the novel coronavirus, which had infected 21 people locally and over 20,000 on the Chinese mainland.

The city’s leader also called for social cohesion, urging society to put aside differences, comply with newly introduced measures and unite to combat the deadly disease.

The measure will take effect on the weekend to give time to people whose lives will be affected by the new arrangement to prepare for the change

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, 

Hong Kong chief executive

She made the remarks while announcing a new round of measures to further curb the spread of the coronavirus, including requiring all arrivals from the mainland to Hong Kong as of Saturday to receive a mandatory quarantine of 14 days.

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This new measure also applies to Hong Kong residents. Detailed information related to the implementation will be revealed during a government news conference on Thursday (today), said Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan Siu-chee, who joined Lam at Wednesday’s news conference.

Lam said the measure will take effect on the weekend to give time to people whose lives will be affected by the new arrangement to prepare for the change.

Meanwhile, the city closed the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, where the World Dream cruise ship docked, on Wednesday morning. About 3,600 passengers and crew on board have been quarantined and barred from leaving the vessel, as three passengers from a previous cruise were found to have contracted the virus.

The new measures were introduced after medical experts warned that there was a real risk that the virus will spread in the community. Lam said that still-unidentified sources of three infections confirmed on Tuesday indicate the possibility of community transmission. The government has closed down all but three of the border checkpoints. Hong Kong International Airport, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, and Shenzhen Bay are the only ones that have been open since Tuesday.

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On Tuesday, 28,675 people entered Hong Kong via the Shenzhen Bay Port and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge checkpoints, down 64 percent from Monday. More than 80 percent of those who entered were Hong Kong residents, Lam said.

Airport arrivals fell by 21 percent to 41,137 on Tuesday. The vast majority of the arrivals were international visitors, and only 224 of the 6,039 mainland visitors flew in from the mainland.

Also on Wednesday, around 4,600 workers at public hospitals, including some 2,700 nurses, continued their strike that began on Monday. They are calling for a total shutdown of the border with the mainland to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

READ MORE: A lockdown will hurt HK's efforts to combat the virus

At a media briefing on Wednesday, Ian Cheung Tsz-fung, chief manager of the Hospital Authority, said surgeries for some patients could not be delayed, adding that some public hospitals have seen half of their respective nursing staff absent from emergency services, neonatal intensive care units and surgery rooms.

In a statement issued on Wednesday morning, the Hospital Authority said accident and emergency departments at public hospitals will be able to provide only emergency services, and appealed to patients with mild conditions to get help at private hospitals and doctors.