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Two hospitals in HK show benefits of cooperation

By ZHANG YI and CHEN SHUMAN in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2021-10-28 09:30

Media members visit the North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre on Wednesday to view its cutting-edge innovations both in construction technology and cross-border project management. EDMOND TANG/CHINA DAILY

Two major mainland-funded medical facilities built in Hong Kong to tackle the COVID-19 epidemic reflect the strong support of the central government for the special administrative region, an official and an expert on the project said.

Cutting-edge innovations present both in construction technology and cross-border project management also embody the characteristics of China's "one country, two systems "principle, they said.

Three projects, including two temporary hospitals, were announced by the central government to help Hong Kong combat the epidemic, after the city was embroiled in its worst coronavirus outbreak in July last year.

At that time, the number of confirmed cases exceeded 100 for more than 10 consecutive days, but there were only 1,200 negative-pressure isolation beds available in the city.

The two hospitals in Hong Kong - the COVID-19 community treatment facility at AsiaWorld-Expo, which was finished in October last year, and the North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre completed in January - offer about 1,800 beds in total.

Funded by the central government, the project was completed in accordance with the laws and regulations of Hong Kong. Construction work was undertaken by China State Construction International Holdings with the assistance of the governments in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

Zhang Yi, CEO of China State Construction International Medical Industry Development Corp in charge of the project, said the hospitals were "the best gifts" the central government had given to Hong Kong during its tough times.

"They reflected the fact that the motherland is Hong Kong's strongest backer at all times," he said.

The North Lantau hospital was the first infectious-disease center in the world that has built negative-pressure isolation beds by using modular integrated construction technology, in which free-standing integrated modules are prefabricated in a factory before being transported to construction sites for installation.

Equipped with 816 isolation beds and hospital-grade isolation facilities, the center provides intravenous medication and oxygen therapy, which can help alleviate the demand for isolation beds in public hospitals, Zhang said.

The construction, which normally could take three to four years, was shortened to 120 days with work going on 24 hours a day, regardless of thunderstorms or even typhoons, he said.

Zhang said it created a project management model of "one country, two systems".

Both governments of Hong Kong and Shenzhen have set up special teams to follow up and coordinate the whole process, he said, adding that there was a lot to communicate and that in Hong Kong, about 20 government departments were involved.

Winnie Ho Wing-yin, director of Architectural Services of the HKSAR government, who participated in the project, said, "It's a lifetime memory."

"The epidemic at that time was very serious, and the hospital task made me feel secure and able to do something for the epidemic prevention in Hong Kong," Ho said.

"The government departments stood together to complete what seemed like an impossible project, but it was done in four months," she said.

Ho said that the cross-border management for the project supported by the central government truly embodies "one country, two systems".

"Teams in Hong Kong and the mainland have been working closely," Ho said.

Many new technologies and innovative designs in the project were important to the future architecture of Hong Kong, she said. "The best talent and technologies have been sent from different parts of the country to the project.

"I hope in the future, the construction company can bring more technology and talent to Hong Kong," Ho said. It's hoped that Chinese medical experts from the mainland and Hong Kong can have closer cooperation and exchanges, she added.

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