Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said she will continue to “lead the SAR government in utilising the support from the Central government with a determined mind” in combatting the Covid-19 pandemic. Lam’s statement came after China’s leader reportedly gave “important instructions” regarding Hong Kong’s anti-epidemic efforts.

“The Central government has always been Hong Kong SAR’s strongest backer,” said Lam in a statement published on Wednesday. She also “expressed thanks on behalf of the SAR and Hong Kong citizens” to Xi Jinping for his “high level of attention” to the city’s Covid-19 situation and his “cordial care” for Hong Kong citizens.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam
Chief Executive Carrie Lam. File Photo: GovHK.

The statement came after state-backed newspapers Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao ran the same report on Wednesday stating that Xi Jinping had issued “important instructions” relating to Hong Kong’s fight against a fifth wave of Covid-19 infections.

The pieces, which did not include any direct quotes or attribute any sources, reported that Xi said “every relevant department of the Central government” must “fully support and help the Hong Kong SAR government” to conduct its anti-epidemic work.

“In recent days, General Secretary Xi Jinping issued important instructions in supporting Hong Kong in combating the fifth wave of Covid-19 pandemic,” the pieces read.

According to the identical articles, Xi reportedly “emphasised that the Hong Kong SAR government has to take the main responsibility, and put controlling the pandemic as the mission that supersedes all, mobilising any power or resources that can be mobilised, taking every necessary measure, ensuring the life safety and health of Hong Kong citizens, ensuring the stability of Hong Kong society.”

Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping. File photo: South African Government, via Flickr.

The newspapers also reported that China’s Vice Premier Han Zheng “requested the Hong Kong SAR government and all relevant aspects to determinedly implement” Xi’s instructions. Han had reportedly instructed relevant departments of the Central government and Guangdong province to “come to grips with solving” issues raised by the Hong Kong government.

The central government had decided “to strengthen coordination of relevant efforts” between Guangdong province, and the central and Hong Kong governments, according to the articles. “In recent days” the Guangdong provincial government had called a meeting to arrange “concrete deployment” in supporting Hong Kong’s fight against the pandemic and ensuring the supply of goods to the city, the articles continued.

tai po virus covid test
Staff members register residents in Tai Po for a Covid-19 test on February 3, 2022. Photo: HK Gov

The pieces came after Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary John Lee and four other top officials met with mainland authorities last Saturday. However, neither were available on the Chinese government’s website or Xinhua on Wednesday morning, which is where Xi’s official statements are often posted.

The two articles also did not make any reference to “dynamic zero Covid-19,” Hong Kong’s current policy in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

Two more deaths

Hong Kong reported the deaths of two more Covid-19 patients on Tuesday night.

A three-year-old girl died at 8.37 p.m. on Tuesday evening after she was sent to the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital last Sunday. She became the youngest Covid-19 death in the city.

A 100-year-old patient with underlying conditions passed away on 8.01 p.m. on Tuesday at Tseung Twan O Hospital.

The city has reported 26,670 infections and 224 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic over two years ago.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.