Anti-epidemic work instructions given

February 24, 2022

Chief Executive Carrie Lam held a special heads of departments meeting via video conferencing on February 23 to give clear instructions to all government departments to work as a team to make all-out efforts to fight the fifth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic.


The meeting was held following Mrs Lam's announcement of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government's overall anti-epidemic action plan on February 22.


More than 100 officials, including permanent secretaries and heads of departments, attended the meeting and pledged to mobilise their staff to participate in various ani-epidemic operations.


Mrs Lam briefed the attendees on the bureaus and departments’ key roles to play under the action plan. She was encouraged by the high esprit de corps displayed by them.


Officials said they would deploy their existing manpower, and as applicable also recruit retired members of the civil service, to augment their respective anti-epidemic teams to discharge the assigned duties earnestly.


The Chief Executive emphasised that a huge amount of manpower is required for three anti-epidemic tasks, namely the management of an increasing number of community isolation facilities to accommodate infection cases with mild or no symptoms, enforcing more restriction-testing declaration operations on targeted buildings having regard to their risks, and the launch of the compulsory universal testing scheme next month.


She pointed out that their smooth operations call for strengthened manpower support, whether commanders or frontline staff. She has assigned various bureau secretaries to take charge of specific tasks and all departments are required to fully co-operate with them.


A case in point is the Community Isolation Facility Hotel Scheme led by Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung. Good progress has been made, with 11 community isolation facility hotels having commenced operation to provide some 3,800 rooms and over 30 hotels under active conversion into community isolation facilities.


The Hong Kong SAR Government would like to express its gratitude, Mrs Lam pointed out, for the over 80% of the hotels opting for a full-service mode with their own staff deployed, which has in turn enabled the Government to free up its manpower for other tasks.


The construction of community isolation and treatment facilities is led by Secretary for Development Michael Wong.


Following the earlier announcement about a site adjacent to the Lok Ma Chau Loop close to Shenzhen and another six parcels of land, the Hong Kong SAR Government has successfully identified two more locations, namely the site next to Ma Sik Road in Fanling lent by a private developer and the site on the southeastern part of the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities Island of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.


The Hong Kong SAR Government offered thanks to the developers for lending their private land for free. The various sites are expected to provide about 50,000 beds.


It also expressed it gratitude to the central authorities for acceding to its request and promptly commissioning Mainland contractors with rich experience and strong mobilisation capability as the designated contractors, which will take forward the various projects at full steam with its full support.


Mrs Lam noted that hundreds of civil service colleagues, and police officers for maintaining order, are involved in each restriction-testing declaration operation. She appealed for the participation of more departments in the work ahead.


Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang is responsible for the compulsory universal testing scheme and working out its details. It is expected that a large number of personnel from various bureaus and departments will be required to plan and implement the whole scheme.


Mrs Lam requested that the permanent secretaries and heads of departments pay heed to certain areas of work to ensure the Government’s orderly operation during the anti-epidemic fight.


They include taking all necessary precautionary measures to safeguard the health of staff, drawing up contingency plans, making prompt decisions given the rapidly changing epidemic development, reminding their colleagues involved in provision of services to the public to be more patient and compassionate in the daily work, and standing ready to work with other bureaus and departments to accomplish missions.


The Chief Executive stressed that at this critical time, all bureaus and departments shall continue to work in concert to take up and undertake their assigned operations and tasks, bringing into full play the whole-of-government spirit to fight the epidemic.


“Together with the staunch support of the central authorities and close collaboration among all sectors of society, we should have every confidence in winning this fight early,” she added.

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