Protests held against virus clinic plans across HK - RTHK
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Protests held against virus clinic plans across HK

2020-02-16 HKT 16:33
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  • Protests held against virus clinic plans across HK
  • The police's water cannon truck and armoured vehicle was stationed near a planned protest in Fo Tan hours ahead of the demonstration. Photo: RTHK
    The police's water cannon truck and armoured vehicle was stationed near a planned protest in Fo Tan hours ahead of the demonstration. Photo: RTHK
  • Sai Kung residents gathered in a town-hall style meeting to air their grievances over the use of three holiday camps in the district as quarantine centres. Photo: RTHK
    Sai Kung residents gathered in a town-hall style meeting to air their grievances over the use of three holiday camps in the district as quarantine centres. Photo: RTHK
Hundreds of people took part in multiple marches on Sunday in the latest of a series of protests against government plans to designate clinics across the territory to treat mild cases of the new coronavirus.

The government says the plan will only be implemented if the Covid-19 outbreak deepens, and patients with mild symptoms can seek treatment at such clinics to avoid overburdening public hospitals and to save themselves lengthy commutes.

However, many residents are adamantly opposed to any such clinics near their neighbourhoods.

Protesters in Kwai Chung say the clinic is too people’s homes, and criticised the government for not consulting them over the plans.

Democratic Party legislator Andrew Wan, who was among the marchers, suggested that the authorities can build a temporary clinic at Kwai Chung park instead of using one that’s just 20 metres away from residential flats.

As protesters reached the designated clinic– the South Kwai Chung Jockey Club General Out-Patient Clinic – at the end of the march, they trampled on images of top officials including Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung, Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan and Security chief John Lee.

Hundreds more marched around Lei Cheng Uk Estate in Cheung Sha Wan, chanting slogans criticising the plan, while yelling abuse at a large force of police officers monitoring the protest.

Meanwhile, police were maintaining a heavy presence around Shan Mei Street Playground in Fotan ahead of another planned demonstration there. A water cannon-equipped anti-riot vehicle was standing by, along with an armoured vehicle, while a large group of officers were on patrol hours ahead of the scheduled start time at 5pm.

In Sai Kung, several district councillors organised a town-hall style meeting to discuss concerns over three quarantine camps that have been set up in the sprawling district.

Some residents said they were ‘infuriated’ at the government’s approach, saying even if people are willing to make some sacrifices, the authorities must at least consult them first.

Other agreed that they don’t necessarily oppose quarantine centres, but said the Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre shouldn’t be one of them because it’s too close to residential areas where many elderly people live.

One man said the government’s failure to completely seal off the border means all quarantine centres will eventually fill up anyway.

The latest round of protests come a day after 33 people who protested against plans for a clinic in Tin Shui Wai were arrested.