Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong took to streets against the government’s plan to turn some buildings in the residential area into quarantine centres. Hundreds of protesters marched in multiple towns including Tai Po and Tin Shui Wai and demanded full closure of mainland China border on Saturday.
Multiple districts in #HongKong had rallies yesterday against govt assign designated outpatient clinics in residential areas for #Coronavirus.— Nikki😷 (@nikki_miumiu) February 16, 2020
Hundreds march in #TinShuiWai, police pepper sprayed and dispersed peaceful protesters, at least 20 ppl were taken away.@icablenews pic.twitter.com/N5xYbO21ng
Though the anti-Beijing protests had subsided due to the threat of Coronavirus, demonstrators again came out on streets chanting "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times" and "Oppose pneumonia clinic". The residents fear that the epidemic clinics will amplify the outbreak in the semi-autonomous region and have been demanding to not only drop the plan but also close the border.
However, Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam has said that full closure of border from mainland China will be “inappropriate”, “impractical” and “discriminatory”. Lam’s refusal to completely shut down the border has again forced the residents to come out on the streets.
Meanwhile, China has reported a drop in new cases of the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, for the third consecutive day after witnessing a spike due to change in methodology. According to China’s National Health Commission, 2,009 new cases with 142 more deaths worldwide have been reported because of the deadly coronavirus, which is still a global health emergency.
The death toll due to the deadly virus has spiked to nearly 1,665 and around 68,000 confirmed cases have been detected till now. While most of the cases are from Hubei province of China and the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, other countries, including Japan and the Philippines, have also now reported deaths related to COVID-19.
The latest cause of concern has been the deaths of people with no travel history to China. On February 13, Japan confirmed the death of an 80-year-old woman who was not even the part of the quarantined cruised off the Japanese coast.
(With inputs from agencies)