Hong Kong union calls strike to demand China border closure

Andrew Cummings
February 3, 2020

Reflecting concerns in the broader business community, three-quarters of American business leaders polled said they wanted Hong Kong to shut the border with the mainland, according to a survey of 156 executives by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

Workers in Hong Kong are "in a panic" because of the risk of infection on the job, unions said. The city's airport - one of the world's busiest - would remain open to mainlanders, although there are already restrictions on people from central Hubei province where the epidemic began. The shutdown is meant to "reduce people movement across the border", she said.

Long queues formed at various hospitals as doctors, nurses and medical assistants registered for the industrial action, aimed primarily at forcing the border shutdown, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) said in a report.

The special work arrangement, originally planned to be implemented until February 2, will last until February 9 and may be further extended after reviews by the government on a weekly basis, Lam said, adding that despite the special arrangement, the HKSAR government will continue providing emergency services and essential public services.

In Hong Kong, where there were 15 confirmed cases, the government had closed six of its 15 border checkpoints, and refused entry to travellers coming from Wuhan.

The government has suspended rail connections with the mainland but Lam has argued against blocking all travel.

The HAEA's five demands are for the government to close the border, distribute masks to the public, ensure that front-line medical workers have adequate supplies and protection, provide enough isolation wards for patients and guarantee no reprisals for strikers.

Hong Kong, which was already in disarray following months of anti-Beijing protests when the coronavirus outbreak started at the end of past year, suffers from much public discontent with the city's response to the epidemic.

About 100 people rallied in the heart of Hong Kong's financial district in support of the health workers" union, with some holding banners saying: "Close Borders, Contain Epidemics'.

"It'll get worse if it is fully closed".

She lived in Whampoa Garden and was transferred to Lei Yue Mun Park & Holiday Village for quarantine on February 1.

Her respiratory sample tested positive for novel coronavirus and she was transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital for further management, where she is in a stable condition.

The patients include 21 males and 26 females aged between 5 and 92.

There are now 88 patients under isolation, it added.

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