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Hong Kong Today
Hong Kong Today
RTHK's morning news programme. Weekdays 6:30 - 8:00
Janice Wong and Mike Weeks


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Wuhan virus outbreak declared a global health emergency   Listenfacebook
The World Health Organisation has declared the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency. The viral pneumonia has now killed at least 200 people in China and infected more than 8,000 in 18 countries around the world. In Hong Kong, the Centre for Health Protection confirmed two more cases of the new disease early on Friday, raising the number of cases in the city to 12. But the CHP says it can't force anyone suspected of having the Wuhan virus to see a doctor in Hong Kong. It was responding to a statement from the W Hong Kong hotel, that it had notified health authorities that an elderly Wuhan couple, confirmed to have the disease on Wednesday, were running a high temperature well before then. Robert Kemp reports:
HK urged to follow Macau in indefinitely closing schools   Listenfacebook
Education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen says Hong Kong schools should not resume until there’s no longer a risk of a community-wide outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus. For the moment, the government has suspended classes until February 17, but Macau has closed schools indefinitely. Ip said class suspensions could last longer than during the SARS epidemic in 2003, when schools were shut for 52 days. He also expressed concern about the risks posed by the 30,000 students who live across the border but go to school here:
Matthew Cheung rules out regulating face mask sales   Listenfacebook
Anger has erupted outside pharmacists as new supplies of face masks quickly ran out on Thursday. People had started gathering before daybreak after the Watsons chain announced that it would have 20 packs of masks to sell at each of its 230 stores. But despite waiting for hours, hundreds of people missed out. Some took their frustration out on staff with police having to intervene at one outlet in Tin Shui Wai. Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung has sought to reassure the public about the supply of face masks. But the government indicated it won’t restrict sales to locals only or put in place import and price controls, at least for now. Frances Sit reports:
Government accused of incompetence over mask shortage   Listenfacebook
Supplies of face masks and protective gear at public hospitals and private clinics are also tight. That’s further fuelling anger among healthcare workers who are threatening to strike unless the government stops people from the mainland coming to Hong Kong. But the government continues to reject the idea. Janice Wong asked health-services lawmaker Joseph Lee whether the assurance from the government on the supply of face masks will help calm people down:
Steam rises over DAB member's mask cleaning claim   Listenfacebook
A bizarre row broke out on Thursday between Ann Chiang and health officials over the DAB lawmaker’s insistence that surgical face masks can be steamed and re-used. Experts immediately rubbished her claims, while rival legislators called for her to resign as chair of the Legislative Council's Health Services Panel. Even the Centre for Health Protection warned people not to believe what it called 'rumours' from 'unreliable sources'. But as Damon Pang reports, the outspoken legislator insists she's right:
'Best' to keep wild animals out of markets to avoid disease   Listenfacebook
An expert in veterinary medicine says human behaviour must change to prevent the emergence of new infectious diseases. Professor Dirk Pfeiffer from the City University of Hong Kong was speaking about the sale of wild animals at a wet market in Wuhan, which is believed to be the cause of the new coronavirus outbreak. Mike Weeks asked Pfeiffer if it’s eating these exotic species or having many different species crowded together in markets that poses the main danger of new diseases emerging: