In view of the dramatically increasing number of corona infections, the authorities in Hong Kong opened a field hospital for 500 Covid-19 patients on Saturday. The temporary clinic set up on the former Expo site will accommodate patients between the ages of 18 and 60 who are in a stable condition, said Hong Kong Hospital Authority’s Larry Lee to journalists. Accordingly, 20 to 30 patients should arrive on Saturday.
The aim is to isolate people infected with the coronavirus and treat them appropriately, Lee said. Newly arriving patients would be X-rayed and subjected to blood, saliva and heart tests. Patients who are classified as unstable would be transferred to other hospitals.
Hong Kong initially got the corona pandemic under control. However, the number of infections has risen sharply since the end of July. The authorities reported 125 new infections on Saturday. The total number of infections detected in the financial metropolis rose to almost 4,000, the number of deaths increased to 31.
The Chinese central government’s health commission said it had put together a team of experts consisting of 60 lab technicians and an “advance team” that would be dispatched to the financial metropolis on Sunday to support the Hong Kong authorities.
The response of the Hong Kong authorities to the rising infection numbers is also against the background of the escalating conflict over China’s handling of the special administrative zone. On Friday, Hong Kong’s Prime Minister Carrie Lam announced the pandemic that the regional parliamentary election would be postponed by a year in September. The decision “has nothing to do with politics,” she emphasized.
Activists, on the other hand, see the postponement as a maneuver to thwart the pro-democratic opposition’s victory in the election. The federal government suspended an extradition agreement with Hong Kong on Friday. The decision by the Hong Kong government to disqualify and postpone a dozen opposition candidates for the election was “a further cut in the rights of Hong Kong citizens,” criticized Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD).
Since the so-called security law came into force four weeks ago, the democracy movement in Hong Kong has come under increasing pressure. The law represents the most serious encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy.