HK medical workers threaten to strike over border closure demands, Latest World News - The New Paper

HK medical workers threaten to strike over border closure demands

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HONG KONG: Thousands of Hong Kong medical workers voted on Saturday to strike as they urge the government to close its border with China to contain the coronavirus epidemic that has killed 304 people.

The financial hub has 13 confirmed cases of the disease as of Saturday, with 112 patients isolated.

More than 3,000 public hospital staff, including doctors and nurses, voted to strike if the government fails to meet their demands.

"If we do not curb the source (of the virus), the resources of epidemic prevention and manpower will never be enough," said Ms Winnie Yu, chairman of the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance (HAEA).

"We don't want to go on strike, but the government has been ignoring the demands of the front-line medical workers. We have no choice," she added.

The HAEA was to meet with representatives from its employer - the Hospital Authority - yesterday to negotiate.

The newly formed alliance said 9,000 of its members back the strike.

If no deal is reached, around 30 per cent of the 9,000 - those who work in non-essential positions - would first go on strike next Monday.

The rest, who provide emergency services, would afterwards join a four-day strike.

The Hospital Authority on Saturday said it would come up with a contingency plan.

The city's pro-Beijing administration has resisted public pressure to completely close its border, although it has slashed several lesser-used crossings, with the city's Chief Executive Carrie Lam saying last week a full closure is not feasible. - AFP