Friday, February 7, 2020

BREAKING: Coronavirus Outbreak: Hong Kong Lawmakers calls on Hong Kong Government to Look at Hong Kong Disneyland Hotels as Quarantine Centres

Coronavirus outbreak: Hong Kong Tourism lawmaker calls on Hong Kong government to look at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort hotels as quarantine centres as community outbreak is declared in Hong Kong. Hong Kong government decided a mandatory 14-day quarantine in hotels and other facilities for mainland Chinese entering the city as part of its escalated response to the contagion, and ministers are scrambling to find quarantine sites as confirmed infections increased.

Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, a leading microbiologist and infectious-diseases expert at the University of Hong Kong, said many of the 21 patients found to be infected in Hong Kong had not visited the mainland recently. He added it was certain a local outbreak had started and human-to-human transmission was taking place within the city. Yuen warned every measure must be taken to minimise the spread, including further border closures. Six people in the city have been diagnosed with the coronavirus over the past two days, five of whom had not left the city recently. Of the 21 cases in total, eight were believed to have no travel history relevant to the coronavirus.

First, let's say that Disney who already had to close both parks in Hong Kong and Shanghaî because of the coronavirus outbreak is gonna get crazy if the Hong Kong government force them to have HKDL hotels used as quarantine centres. The simple idea of having Hong Kong Disneyland hotels used as quarantine centers with hundred of people potentially infected and all the logistic which will go with it, like decontamination of the hotels after, etc... that is something that Disney is not going to like at all.

Second, yes, it's for good reasons, and there is a humanitarian urgency so Disney should accept and, yes, if the Hong Kong government which owns a majority of HKDL shares decide a requisition of the hotels - which are probably pretty empty by now considering that the park is closed - it will be difficult for Disney to oppose the decision.

Third, if we're totally objective there is some sense to use the resort’s remote accommodations for isolation. Hong Kong Disneyland resort is located in a secluded area of Lantau Island and that would be helpful to avoid contamination. This is probably why calls grew on Wednesday to use Hong Kong Disneyland Resort hotels as quarantine centres as the city tackled the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

More from the South China Morning Post article HERE : "Former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen added his voice to calls from lawmakers and urged the government to look at isolating those caught in the outbreak at the theme’s park and vacant land next to the theme park could be considered as well. Separately, the city’s leader Carrie Lam said she would invoke the chief executive’s special powers under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance and require all travellers entering from the mainland, including Hong Kong residents, to go into quarantine. Lam said officials were actively seeking proposals to add more quarantine facilities in the city, which currently only had three centres. “We have asked the Development Bureau to study into the vacant lands to see if we can add such facilities there through some sort of methods,” she said at a press conference.

“[The government] can consider using places remote from residential areas, for example, the hotels at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort as quarantine facilities,” tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing wrote in a letter to the commerce minister. Yiu said in an interview on Wednesday that Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah had told him he would look at the suggestion. Yiu said Disneyland’s three hotels, with a total of 1,750 rooms, were away from residential areas, as well as each other. “We suggested it in view of the current situation and think everyone has a social responsibility,” he said, adding he had not talked to the theme park yet.

He said Disneyland would have its own considerations, including the impact on its branding and how to reassure guests their facilities were safe once they eventually reopened to the public. On Monday, Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai and lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan made a similar proposal. “We have noticed the places the government wants to turn into quarantine facilities are near residential areas. As it hasn’t consulted district councils, residents have concerns,” Wong said. “Since Disneyland is still closed, maybe the number of guests at its hotels will be small.” Wu and Wong also suggested building quarantine facilities on the 60-hectare site reserved for Disneyland’s second-phase development."

Now, the idea of using the empty land kept for HKDL second park - that you can see on the picture above - is probably something that would be more easy to accept for Disney. After all China just built two hospitals in ten days out of nowhere so Hong Kong could eventually do the same on that land, which would be seen as a good will gesture from Disney. But then again you could have people crossing over to the entrance area of Hong Kong Disneyland, and then Disney will have a potential contamination issue of the entrance area. But we're talking here about a humanitarian emergency with the total of cases now close to 30000 worldwide and more than 560 deaths, most of them in China, so it might be hard for Disney to refuse if the Hong Kong government finally ask them,

Pictures: copyright Disney

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