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China construction to build COVID-19 facilities in virus-hit Hong Kong

HONG KONG (CNA) – Hong Kong has contracted mainland firm China State Construction International Holdings to build eight isolation and treatment facilities to help the global financial hub fight a worsening COVID-19 outbreak, the government said.

The temporary facilities, with a combined capacity of 50,000 beds, will be spread across Hong Kong.

The move follows promises of “staunch support” from mainland Chinese authorities, with city leader Carrie Lam doubling down on the official goal of bringing infections down to zero.

Authorities are expected to report a new record of about 10,000 confirmed infections over the past 24 hours, up from Thursday’s 8,798, broadcaster TVB reported, citing an unidentified source. University of Hong Kong researchers predict new infections could peak at 180,000 a day next month.

“The target is to maximise the site utilisation and complete the relevant works as soon as possible, equipping Hong Kong for the fight against the epidemic,” the government said in a statement late Thursday.

Sun Hung Kai Properties, New World Development and Henderson Land Development are among the developers that contributed to the scheme.

Media reported in September that Beijing had given a new mandate to the Chinese-ruled city’s powerful property tycoons, telling them to pour resources and influence into backing Beijing’s interests.

Hong Kong is following mainland China’s “dynamic zero-COVID” strategy, aiming to eradicate all outbreaks at all costs, but the spread of infections with the highly-transmissible Omicron variant this year has overwhelmed the city’s health system.

A boy cries after receiving a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Hong Kong. PHOTO: AP

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