(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.)
Chief Executive Carrie Lam today appealed to the public to fight against COVID-19 with concerted efforts.
Mrs Lam made the appeal this afternoon at a press conference, where she led six principal officials to review the development of the COVID-19 epidemic situation in the city, the anti-epidemic strategy as well as the Government’s future work priorities.
She said the new wave of rapidly worsening infections since early July remains severe.
“The stringent social distancing measures introduced recently have no doubt had an impact on the local businesses and brought inconvenience to the people.
“Nevertheless, the coming week is a critical juncture. I hope enterprises and members of the public exercise patience.
“The Government will closely observe if the emerging downward trend in the number of confirmed cases will continue and implement various types of follow-up work.”
In the coming week, the Government will complete the virus tests and follow-up work for the clusters involving the container terminal and foreign domestic helper dormitories, and review the test results of the expanded targeted groups.
It will also discuss with relevant sectors the arrangements for resuming business in an orderly manner and prepare for the launch of the large-scale Universal Community Testing Programme to provide voluntary virus tests for all citizens.
Mrs Lam noted that the large-scale Universal Community Testing Programme is made possible with the support from the central government, which will be responsible for the laboratory test services required.
“The central government cares about and loves Hong Kong. In addition to supporting the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s Universal Community Testing Programme, it has also committed to the setting up of the community treatment facility at AsiaWorld-Expo and a temporary hospital nearby.
“On behalf of the Hong Kong SAR Government and the people of Hong Kong, I would like to express heartfelt thanks to the central government for its support.”
Given the anti-epidemic experience over the past eight months, Mrs Lam said Hong Kong has strengthened its capability in testing, tracing infection sources, quarantine facilities, treatment facilities, protective equipment production and technology application.
She also pointed out that the city is much better prepared to cope with another potential wave of the epidemic down the road, adding that the Hong Kong SAR Government is proactively following up on the procurement of vaccines.
Looking ahead, Mrs Lam said with the easing of the epidemic, the Government will launch the work to rebuild the economy immediately.
This includes leveraging the health code system to resume normal contact between people in Hong Kong and the Mainland, exploring the establishment of travel bubbles, and working in commerce and trade, finance, innovation and technology, public works projects and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
The Government will also strive to support the sectors hardest hit by the epidemic, including continuing to implement the second tranche of the Employment Support Scheme and other support programmes, as well as rolling out the third round of the Anti-epidemic Fund.
The Chief Executive said: “I appeal to landlords of shops, banks and large enterprises to support the small tenants and small and medium-sized enterprises to tide over the difficult times together.
“I also appeal to members of the public to strictly observe social distancing and personal hygiene. As long as we stay united, we will get through the epidemic very soon.”