Hong Kong boy band Mirror will be enlisted as “anti-epidemic ambassadors” to urge the public to stay home, while words of encouragement will be displayed on the exterior of the city’s tallest building to help Hong Kong fight the fifth wave of Covid-19 infections, according to billionaires’ proposals.
Eleven Hong Kong real estate and telecommunications tycoons, politicians and heads of pro-China industry groups on Friday made promises to undertake dozens of measures to aid the city’s anti-epidemic efforts during a video call led by the Director of Beijing’s China Liaison Office Luo Huining. Chief Secretary John Lee was also among the speakers.
The heads of some of the city’s biggest property developers – including Raymond Kwok of Sun Hung Kai, Peter Lee of Henderson Land, and Adrian Cheng of New World Development – proposed shoring up thousands of hotel rooms owned by their conglomerates as isolation facilities, providing land for a makeshift hospital, and using their television channels to broadcast anti-epidemic messages non stop at their shopping malls.
Richard Li, the head of the city’s largest telecom provider PCCW, said all 12 members of the popular music group Mirror would become “anti-epidemic ambassadors” and film videos to encourage the public to stay home. The boy band Mirror is under the television channel ViuTV, which is operated by broadcaster Now TV under PCCW.
The telecoms group will also offer 3,000 phone lines to the health authorities for hotlines, as well as subsidies for people to use its telemedicine platform, DrGo.
Cheng of New World Development, said his television channel iCable TV – a rival of Li’s Now TV – and all shopping malls the conglomerate owns will broadcast Covid-19 related information and messages “24 hours, non stop” to inform the public about the latest updates. An insurance company under the group would also insure taxi drivers who signed up to shuttle patients to hotels and medical facilities, he said.
“If there is anything else New World Development and I can help with, you are welcome to tell me. I will do my small part, thank you,” he said.
During the online event, Luo said his office was glad to see the Hong Kong government “bear responsibilities for the anti-epidemic efforts with full force.”
“Patriotic political and social groups, as well as mainland conglomerates, have put their all in to provide resources and services for the anti-epidemic efforts,” he said, adding that meeting was to introduce “practical efforts” to help alleviate the city’s fast-growing Covid-19 wave.
The online event came a day after China’s leader Xi Jinping transmitted “important instructions” urging the city’s government to make Covid-19 its top priority.
Another tycoon, Lee of Henderson Land Development, said that he would provide some 200 hectares of land along Lam Kam Road in the New Territories for the government to build a makeshift hospital “if it is needed.” The company will also donate HK$13 million to assist the government and offer 10 per cent discounts at convenience stores it owns.
The property magnates also promised to sign up to the city’s plan to convert hotels into isolation facilities for patients and close contacts, offering a total of at least 2,400 hotel rooms to the government. They also said they would distribute tens of thousands of rapid antigen test kits, protective gear and food packets to those in need.
The head of the Hong Kong Composers’ Guild Mei Guangzhao, on the other hand, said he would compose a song named “Heart to heart between you and me, Hong Kong will surely win.”
“I hope Chinese music will bring more positive energy,” he said.
The city has reported 40,700 Covid-19 cases and 248 deaths since the pandemic started.
LATEST ON COVID-19 IN HONG KONG