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Xi Orders Hong Kong To Get Its COVID Outbreak Under Control

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Chinese leader Xi Jinping demanded that Hong Kong’s government get its Omicron coronavirus surge, which has overwhelmed the city’s healthcare system, under control, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Xi’s order was published in the city’s two main state-owned newspapers and claimed that getting Hong Kong‘s virus outbreak under control was “the overriding task at present,” the WSJ reported. The variant has reportedly consumed public hospitals and its contagiousness has made it near impossible for the government to isolate infected patients and their contacts.

The articles noted that local officials must improve the situation, but Chinese authorities would help add to the city’s testing capacity, the WSJ reported. Xi reportedly said the central government will also step in to ease the shortage of food and other supplies.

Hong Kong officials traveled to mainland China to discuss plans on how to maintain the country’s zero-Covid policies, which are failing in the face of a fifth wave, the WSJ reported.

“The reality is that zero-Covid was a policy that Xi Jinping insisted on,” Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute at the University of London, told the WSJ. “It cannot be allowed to fail on the mainland, and Hong Kong is being increasingly treated as an integral part of the PRC and it cannot be allowed to fail in Hong Kong either.”

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam outlined plans Tuesday to expand facilities to treat, confine and isolate infected residents, the WSJ reported. She reportedly expressed her “heartfelt gratitude” to Xi on Wednesday for his remarks and vowed to “spare no effort” in the city’s fight to let citizens “resume their normal lives early.”

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