Earlier this week, a group of Central and Western district councillors and residents petitioned the Hong Kong Department of Health to oppose the government’s plans to establish a coronavirus treatment clinic within the neighborhood.

The petitioners collected 5,000 signatures against the government’s decision to convert Kennedy Town Jockey Club General Out-Patient Clinic into one of the 18 designated clinics.

Hong Kong hospital authorities explain that the newly designated clinics would handle mild suspected cases of COVID-19 virus. This would relieve the pressure on Accident and Emergency Departments in hospitals.

An independent councillor of the district, Cherry Wong claimed that patients who suffer from fever-like symptoms would have to go to a clinic on Victoria Road via public transport. As these places are usually crowded, citizens are concerned that the infectious virus might lead to a potential community outbreak.

“If patients want to go the clinic, they can take the MTR. From the MTR to the clinic, there is about seven to ten minutes’ walk. People have to go through [a] crowded residential area,” explains Ms Wong.

Ms Wong advocates for complete transparency in regards to the clinic’s operations. Citizens demand for more information whether the clinics would have sufficient medical supplies. As for patients who test positive for the virus, citizens question how they would be brought to hospitals.

District Councillor for the Kwun Lung constituency in Hong Kong, Fergus Leung condemned the government for not attending the district council meetings to explain the government’s decision. He added the government’s decision is indefensible given the insufficient amount of information in the public domain to allay fears of residents.

Mr Leung said, “We’re angry that the government is not doing their utmost to cut the virus at its source. We’re even angrier at the fact that the government never communicated with residents or the district council since they came up with the plan”.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, six students were arrested for an illegal gathering at a Hong Kong public housing estate. The six students were among twelve anti-government protesters who were arrested on suspicion of unlawful assembly and possession of instruments fit for unlawful purpose. Police say the protesters wearing reflective safety vests with labels reading “first aid’ had falsely identified themselves to avoid detection. Police say that according to initial investigations the suspects did not have any qualification to administer first aid. The motive of their protest is still being investigated.

Speaking on Wednesday, Superintendent Iu Wing-kan, assistant Kwai Tsing district commander, said police were investigating whether the 12 suspects were linked to an illegal road blockage.

The superintendent condemned the actions of the individuals for organizing road barricades, during turbulent times as the city was fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.

Currently, Hong Kong and Singapore rank joint third highest with 50 confirmed COVID-19 cases, compared to mainland China with a total of 59,822 (and 1,367 deaths) and Japan with 248 cases.  

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