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Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan has expressed appreciation and gratitude to Hong Kong people for extending timely assistance to Wuhan — the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak — as well as other mainland cities that have been affected.
Her remarks, aired during a China Central Television newscast on Tuesday evening, came after Wuhan Asia General hospital — a Hong Kong-funded tertiary general hospital — offered all its nearly 400 beds for the treatment of patients of the epidemic. The Hubei provincial capital, where the epidemic broke out in late December, had reported more than 18,000 confirmed cases as of Tuesday, and faces an acute shortage of hospital beds.
In an online statement published on Monday, the Liaison Office of the Central People"s Government in the HKSAR said Hong Kong people have so far donated 1 billion yuan (US$143 million) to the mainland through various channels to help curb the epidemic. Some associations and institutions also sent medical supplies, including masks, goggles, surgical and protective clothing, medical gloves and alcohol disinfectants.
Sun said the concerted efforts by compatriots in Hong Kong and Wuhan to contain the outbreak demonstrated the nation"s strong cohesion and vitality.
Hong Kong recorded another seven new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number to 49. Most of the new confirmed cases arose from people gathering during the just ended Spring Festival holiday. They included a colleague of a patient who attended a family gathering on Jan 26 and had earlier tested positive for the coronavirus.
Hong Kong microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung, however, said it"s unlikely the city would see a massive transmission of the disease in the community.
He spoke amid fears of a widespread local outbreak after two elderly tenants at Hong Mei House in a public housing estate on Tsing Yi Island were confirmed on Tuesday to have contracted the coronavirus. The infections of the two tenants, who live on different floors of the multi-story building, revived memories of Amoy Gardens — a housing estate in Ngau Tau Kok, Kowloon, that saw over 300 cases of SARS infection in 2003.
Yuen said the new cases at Hong Mei House are "absolutely" not a repeat of Amoy Gardens, as it"s reasonable to believe that changes made to an exhaust pipe at the Tsing Yi building had caused the infections, while the Amoy Gardens outbreak was caused by the virus being emitted from dried up, U-shaped drainpipes.
"A local outbreak, possibly, won"t happen under the current circumstances and residents should be optimistic," he said.
Yuen said the public"s most urgent task in curbing the contagion is to cut off the transmission chain by avoiding social gatherings and crowds.
Almost 200 residents at Hong Mei House were evacuated and quarantined in the early hours of Tuesday. Five of them, who had shown infection symptoms, tested negative for the coronavirus, according to the Department of Health.
Pau Yuk-ki, a 70-year-old tenant, has been sent to the quarantine center at the Jao Tsung-I Academy in northwestern Kowloon along with his wife.
He said most of the evacuated residents are calm and the arrangements are appropriate. Pau and his wife have not developed symptoms so far.
He Shusi contributed to this story.italian rubber braceletscustom braceletsrubber charity braceletsblack rubber bracelets meaningsilicone teething bracelet