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china: China’s Xi Jinping: Control of Hong Kong surge is ‘overriding task’

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China’s leader Xi Jinping took a personal interest in Hong Kong’s outbreak, saying it was the local government’s “overriding task” to control the situation, a Hong Kong newspaper said on Wednesday.

Xi personally issued instructions and directed Vice Premier Han Zheng to express to the city’s chief executive Carrie Lam the high level of concern Chinese Communist Party leaders had about Hong Kong’s ongoing outbreak, according to Wen Wei Po, a pro-Beijing news outlet.

Zheng stressed that the Hong Kong government “should earnestly assume the main responsibility, and regard the rapid stabilization and control of the epidemic as the current overriding task” to Lam, the outlet said.

Hong Kong is facing its worst outbreak of the pandemic, topping 2,000 new COVID-19 cases per day this week. The Hong Kong government has already instituted strict rules, banning gatherings of more than two households.

Zheng said China‘s central government agencies and neighboring Guangdong province would provide Hong Kong with resources to fight the outbreak, including rapid antigen tests, medical expertise and supplies.

China has been able to control the virus within its borders, maintaining a strict “zero-tolerance” policy which involves total lockdowns and mass testing millions of people.

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