28 Januari, 2020

Hong Kong medical workers threaten strike and urge city to ban Chinese visitors

A trade union representing medical workers in Hong Kong is threatening to strike if the government does not shut its border with China to prevent the spread of Wuhan coronavirus.

The HA Employees Alliance, which claimed to represent 6,000 members working for the Hospital Authority, said the government must meet its "five demands" or it will start taking industrial action next Monday.

The five demands:

  • Completely banning any visitors from entering Hong Kong through its border with China
  • Urging citizens to wear face masks
  • Providing enough isolation wards and stopping non-emergency services in hospitals
  • Ensuring patients follow isolation orders
  • Providing enough resources for medical workers

On Saturday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam denounced medical workers for threatening to strike, while also ruling out closing the border with China.

"It is inappropriate and unrealistic for us to hastily cut all the traffic with mainland China," she said.

"I urge everyone not to use a fierce, confrontational attitude to fight for your demands."

The Hong Kong government has faced growing pressure from medical workers and politicians to step up its measures to counter the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.

In a statement, The Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Medicine said the government should tighten its immigration policy, such as extending the entry ban to incorporate other Chinese provinces where the coronavirus has been reported, and enhancing quarantine and medical surveillance towards visitors to Hong Kong.

James Tien, a former pro-Beijing lawmaker and leader of the Liberal Party, also called on the government to seal its border with China for a month.

"It is a matter of life and death, I hope the government will take extraordinary measure at this extraordinary time, and fight the epidemic together with Hong Kong people," he added.

Source: CNN