HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong is rushing to build facilities for COVID-19 patients, with Reuters drone footage showing construction work in full swing after a temporary bridge linking the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen to the Asian financial hub opened at the weekend.
As a surge in COVID-19 cases overwhelms Hong Kong’s healthcare facilities, authorities have deployed mainland medical and construction workers, as well as building materials, to speed up efforts to contain an outbreak of the virus.
Drone footage over the rural Hong Kong district of Lok Ma Chau close to the border with China showed a huge building site next to fish ponds and lush wetlands, with the glistening skyscrapers of Shenzhen towering in the background.
Dozens of makeshift tents and a steady stream of trucks taking materials across the new bridge were also visible as building at the site ramps up to construct a temporary hospital with 1,000 beds and quarantine facilities for 10,000 people.
In Tsing Yi, another area of Hong Hong’s New Territories district, drone footage showed an isolation facility where a bare-chested man leaned against a door outside one unit taking in the sunshine, as people in full hazmat suits walked past.
That facility, which was built in seven days and consists of rows of hundreds of individual units with one window and a white chair outside, will house around 3,900 COVID-19 patients.
The facilities shown in the drone images are at locations the government has said were earmarked for the COVID-19 centres.
Total infections in the global financial hub since the coronavirus emerged in 2020 have surged to about 600,000 cases and more than 2,500 deaths – most in the past two weeks.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday a compulsory mass testing scheme was still being considered but the government had not decided on a time frame given the huge scale of the operation, with the focus now on more isolation and temporary care facilities for elderly patients.
(Reporting By Joyce Zhou and Tyrone Siu; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)