The Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) on Sunday called on the government to allow mainland medical staff to work in Hong Kong temporarily in the fight against the pandemic.
Mainland officials told a Hong Kong government delegation a day earlier that they broadly agreed to help in several ways, such as bolstering testing capacity and building more isolation facilities.
FTU lawmaker Alice Mak said letting them work in Hong Kong can ease two major issues in the SAR's Covid response: a lack of medical professionals to manage hospital beds and long queues outside testing centres.
She said the Executive Council needs to give approval for the workers to temporarily work in the SAR.
"Yes, this is controversial. But we need to know the seriousness of the fifth wave, and we need to face the reality that we do have a serious shortage of manpower," she told RTHK.
"Definitely, this will be a temporary measure. You know, I don't think mainland medical staff will stay in Hong Kong for long, for good because they do have their responsibilities and their jobs in the mainland."
Mak added that the government should conduct a mandatory universal testing exercise for up to five days in a bid to cut transmission chains.
During that period, social distancing measures should be further tightened, she said.
During an online press conference, fellow FTU lawmaker Michael Luk again called on the government to require real-name registration for the LeaveHomeSafe app.
He said officials should add a bluetooth real-time tracking function for the app for better contact tracing.
Another FTU lawmaker, Kwok Wai-keung, said there's a need for the administration to maintain public service even as more confirmed cases were reported from different government departments.
He said there may have been transmission at the workplace, so mandatory testing orders should be issued for government offices when more than one infection is found.