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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung today inspected the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre on Lantau Island to learn more about its latest operations.

He was briefed by Civil Aid Service (CAS) members and Department of Health (DH) staff on the centre’s daily operation and the transfer arrangement for people under quarantine.

The daily operation of quarantine centres is managed by the CAS, while the DH is responsible for services at the medical post. Mr Cheung thanked them for their dedication and effort in providing the necessary supplies and appropriate support to those under quarantine.

He also appealed to the relevant government departments to enhance communication and stay alert to the situation to ensure the centre’s smooth operation.

Mr Cheung noted that the Architectural Services Department immediately arranged a contractor to conduct urgent clearing of rubbish found in a manhole after a sewer blockage was reported last night. He expressed appreciation to department colleagues and contractors for working together in successfully increasing the number of quarantine units in a short period of time.

The Chief Secretary pointed out that the quarantine and isolation of close contacts and people with infection risks plays a vital role in containing the COVID-19 epidemic. The severe epidemic situation at present could place certain pressure on the demand for quarantine facilities, so the Government will closely monitor the use of various quarantine facilities and make timely adjustments.

The Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre, constructed in four phases, is now fully in use and provides a total of 3,500 units.

Including those in the Junior Police Call Permanent Activity Centre at Pat Heung, the Lei Yue Mun Park & Holiday Village and the Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre, about 4,150 units are available in the quarantine centres across the city.

Additionally, the Government has arranged for four hotels to operate as designated quarantine hotels for close contacts of COVID-19 cases, altogether providing more than 1,700 rooms.

Currently, there are a total of nearly 6,000 quarantine units to cope with the demand stemming from the epidemic.

As at 11am, the usage rate of quarantine facilities was about 30% and over 3,200 units are ready to be used, reflecting that the facilities are still sufficient. The remaining units are under maintenance or disinfection.

Meanwhile, the DH’s Quarantine Centre Task Force has been proactively following up on the arrangement of transferring close contacts to quarantine centres for mandatory quarantine. It has deployed additional manpower, with a view to getting in touch with the close contacts within 24 hours after a quarantine order is issued and arranging for designated vehicles to transfer them to quarantine centres.

Mr Cheung reiterated that the Government attaches great importance to the quarantine arrangements for close contacts, adding that the DH will continue to work closely with related government departments to ensure the smooth transfer of close contacts to quarantine centres.

He also expressed gratitude to police officers and Fire Services Department officers stationing on-site for standing fast at their posts in keeping the centre safe and responding to unforeseen incidents.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News