Carrie Lam’s efforts at fighting coronavirus still insufficient

February 05, 2020 10:46
Despite the tightened border control measures, tens of thousands of mainlanders are still entering Hong Kong every day. Photo: RTHK

In a news conference on Monday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced that the border checkpoints at Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau and Huanggang, as well as the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal, would be shut down starting from Tuesday.

Under the tightened border control measures, only the Hong Kong international airport, the Shenzhen Bay crossing and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge will remain open to inbound and outbound travellers.

However, members of the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance were unsatisfied with the government’s insistence on not enforcing a full border shutdown, and escalated their industrial action.

To some degree, the chief executive did answer public calls for enforcing tougher border control measures by shutting down 10 of the city's 13 border crossings.

However, we believe the steps her administration has so far taken in combating the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak are still insufficient, because even if only three border crossings are left open, they still constitute loopholes that would pose significant risks to our citizens.

Despite the tightened measures, there are still tens of thousands of mainlanders entering Hong Kong every day, mostly through the airport and the Shenzhen Bay checkpoint.

And this would definitely pose a huge risk to our city, considering that the novel coronavirus has already spread across the entire mainland, and every mainlander who travels to Hong Kong could be a potential virus carrier.

While it is definitely a good thing that the SAR government has stepped up efforts at fighting the novel coronavirus, there is still a lot of room for it to enhance preventive measures against the deadly disease.

The Wuhan pneumonia outbreak has proven to be so destructive that countries around the world are now shutting down their borders one after another to stop its spread.

As such, Hong Kong shouldn’t be an exception and must plug all the remaining loopholes at this highly critical moment.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 4

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal