Tests begin on emergency hospital in HK
The first phase of the Central Government-Aided Emergency Hospital in Lok Ma Chau, Hong Kong, started integrated commissioning and testing on Tuesday after it was fully powered, marking a step closer to its completion.
The hospital, which will be built in two phases, will provide 1,000 negative-pressure isolation wards.
Another mobile-cabin isolation facility will be built with assistance from the central government next to the hospital to help Hong Kong battle its worst-ever COVID-19 outbreak.
Construction of the first phase, providing 500 beds, began on March 6 and is expected to be finished on April 5, making it a milestone for constructing a megaproject in such a short period of time.
Built on land formerly occupied by a fish farm, construction of the hospital has met with great difficulties as it is like "building a house on tofu", according to an official release.
A temporary bridge connecting the land with neighboring Shenzhen was built beforehand to help facilitate the movement of construction equipment, materials and personnel. At the peak of construction, over 14,000 people involved in the project had to stay in makeshift tents erected at the site at the same time in order to beat the clock.
Also on Tuesday, a seven-member delegation, consisting of the Chinese mainland's leading traditional Chinese medicine experts from Guangzhou, Guangdong province, Shanghai and Beijing, arrived in Hong Kong. The team was led by Tong Xiaolin, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Delegation members will visit community isolation facilities, elderly care homes and communities, Tong told the media in front of the hotel where the experts are staying.
When welcoming the arrival of the delegation at the Shenzhen Bay Port, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the use of TCM has proved to be "very effective" in COVID-19 treatment on the mainland, which will be beneficial to the Hong Kong government's goal of preventing critical illnesses and deaths.
TCM has also been found very helpful in patients' rehabilitation and recuperation, Lam said.
Zhu Haidong, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said the expert team will draw on mainland experience in the battle against COVID-19 to give guidance and advice suited to the city's epidemic situation, as it requested.
Besides cooperating with the government on COVID-19 treatment, the panel will also meet with TCM practitioners to discuss the development of the TCM industry in Hong Kong.
A day before arriving in Hong Kong, Tong said TCM prevented mild and moderate cases from worsening into severe infections, and improved clinical symptoms of patients with a fever, cough and fatigue.
"It can reduce mortality rates and alleviate illness from severe to mild," he said. For patients in rehabilitation, TCM accelerates the recovery of lung functions and improves the quality of life, he added.
The city recorded 7,596 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the city's tally during the current fifth wave of infections to 1.13 million.
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