Health chief says new temporary hospital in planning - RTHK
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Health chief says new temporary hospital in planning

2020-08-02 HKT 11:29
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  • Sophia Chan says more testing capacity will help with the search for hidden carriers of the coronavirus. File photo: RTHK
    Sophia Chan says more testing capacity will help with the search for hidden carriers of the coronavirus. File photo: RTHK
Health Secretary Sophia Chan says the government is planning to build a temporary hospital from scratch to complement a makeshift coronavirus facility at AsiaWorld Expo.

The minister said six experts who are due to arrive from Wuhan shortly would help with the planning and construction of the facility, using their experience from setting up similar hospitals in the early days of the pandemic. Four of them are medics and two are construction specialists.

Officials say the new structure would offer "better hardware" than the facility at AsiaWorld Expo, which opened on Saturday in part of the vast convention centre on Lantau.

Chan said it was not clear how long it would take to build the completely new facility and officials would have to confirm a site and discuss planning with the team from Wuhan.

The mainland group will initially work at AsiaWorld Expo, which is now welcoming patients with mild symptoms of Covid-19 who are awaiting admission to public hospitals. About 30 patients arrived on Saturday.

The facility will ultimately have about 500 beds and will also take patients from public hospitals whose symptoms are mild.

Meanwhile Chan said the arrival on Sunday of seven other experts from the mainland would boost Hong Kong's coronavirus testing capacity and help detect hidden carriers in the community.

The seven medics from Guangdong are the first members of a 60-strong team whose arrival was announced by mainland health officials last week. Reports say the team will work in the SAR for a month.

Chan said that, since the middle of last month, the government had tested 100,000 people in high-risk groups, such as staff at care homes for the elderly.

However, she said large numbers of undetected carriers remained, and there might be a need to test some high-risk people again.

Asked whether everyone in Hong Kong would be tested, the minister said the government would study who to prioritise.