Seven virus testing professionals from the Chinese mainland arrived in Hong Kong on Sunday afternoon as the first batch of mainland supportive teams to help contain a worsening spread of COVID-19 in Hong Kong.
The medical professionals, who will help with laboratory work here, are members of a 60-strong nucleic acid testing team established recently at the request of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government for assistance in the battle against the pandemic.
They came at a time of surging COVID-19 infections in Hong Kong, where medical resources were stretched to the limit and the virus testing capacity was not enough.
Members of the team were selected from over 20 public hospitals in southern Guangdong Province. The head of the team used to lead the province's supportive group to Wuhan, the capital of central Hubei Province.
Guo Penghao, leader of the seven-member advance team, said they will start working with relevant departments here and familiarizing themselves with testing facilities and procedures in preparation for the following large-scale nucleic acid testing.
The virus testing team and Hong Kong residents will win the battle against COVID-19, Guo said. "We are full of confidence."
When meeting with the team members, two officials of the HKSAR government, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Tsang Kwok-wai and Secretary for Food and Health Chan Siu-chee, expressed gratitude for the assistance of the central government, and said the HKSAR government hoped the outbreak will be contained as soon as possible.
Qiu Hong, deputy head of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, said the central government pays high attention to the safety and health of Hong Kong residents and, in addition to the supportive teams, it will also provide Hong Kong with free anti-epidemic equipment.
No matter what difficulties Hong Kong encounters, the central government and the people of the motherland will always be Hong Kong's strongest backing, she said.
The National Health Commission on Saturday promised continued efforts to mobilize medical resources from the mainland and send more support at any time based on the requirements of the HKSAR to combat COVID-19.
The commission has also set up a panel of six experts from Wuhan to provide technical support in transforming Hong Kong's AsiaWorld-Expo into a makeshift hospital.