Emergency wards have been shut down and surgeries postponed as healthcare workers in Hong Kong strike for the third day over government action on the coronavirus.
Dr. Ian Cheung, chief manager of the Hospital Authority said that 4,600 staff, including 300 doctors and 2,700 nurses are absent from work.
Cheung appealed to those on strike to return to work, warning of the potential for more community transmissions in the coming weeks.If we don’t unite at this moment, it will be very hard for us to hold on to the last line of defense (in this epidemic),” Cheung said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Why they’re striking: The Hospital Authority Employees Alliance, a union representing medical workers in the city, is on its third day of strike action.
Strikers and union members are demanding closed borders with mainland China, and have accused the city government of inadequate action during the coronavirus outbreak.
Government response: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam criticized the strikers for weakening the city’s medical capacity at a crucial time. Remaining employees still working in the hospital now have a heavier workload to make up for their absent colleagues, she said.