HONG KONG - Explosive devices were found on Hong Kong’s border with the mainland city of Shenzhen on Sunday while the government is making an all-out effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
One of two explosive devices went off at the Lo Wu MTR station, which was subsequently closed for several hours with rail services disrupted.
Police said a user of online platform Telegram had claimed responsibility for planting the bombs in an attempt to force the government to close the border, and had threatened further bombing attacks if the government does not agree to a complete lockdown
Police said a user of online platform Telegram had claimed responsibility for planting the bombs in an attempt to force the government to close the border, and had threatened further bombing attacks if the government does not agree to a complete lockdown.
Strongly condemning the acts of violence, police said the radicals had taken another major step toward terrorism.
The police said it marked the fourth case of such a nature. On Tuesday, police found a home-made bomb in the lobby of the Shenzhen Bay checkpoint.
The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in Hong Kong rose to 15 after the mother of an infected patient returned positive test results on Sunday for the disease, which has infected over 14,000 people on the mainland.
The 72-year-old female began to show symptoms the day after she was quarantined on Friday, following her 39-year-old son’s testing positive for the virus on the same day, according to health authorities.
Another patient also tested positive in initial tests for the coronavirus, and will be Hong Kong’s 16th infection if confirmed, said Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Communicable Disease Branch of the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health, without providing details about the case.
Warning of the virus spreading in the community, Chuang said the authorities are also looking into two possible locally contracted cases, as it was unable to trace two patients’ source of infection.
One of them, an 80-year-old man, was confirmed to be the 14th coronavirus case late Saturday evening. He had spent a few hours in Shenzhen on Jan 10 before he flew to Japan on Jan 17 with his two daughters. While in Japan, he spent several days on a cruise ship with more than 2,400 passengers and at least 1,000 crew members. He returned to Hong Kong on Jan 25.
He started coughing on Jan 19 and it has become worse since Jan 23. He was later hospitalized in Caritas Medical Centre on Jan 30 for high fever and later transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital.
It is still unclear where he contracted the pathogen, Chuang said.
The health official said the current situation is “worrying”, and warned that everyone in the city should be prepared for the possibility that the disease is spreading “within the community”.
In the 24 hours before Sunday noon, 47 patients who met the reporting criteria of the novel coronavirus had been admitted to public hospitals. Currently, 88 patients are quarantined.
As the city took precautions against the deadly pathogen, the Hospital Authority Employees Alliance voted on Saturday evening to go on strike on Monday as it seeks to force the government to ban the entry of all non-residents who have visited the mainland.
The newly formed group drew criticism for going against the union members’ professional ethics. On Sunday, more than 100 people gathered outside the building of the Hospital Authority, the statutory body in charge of all public hospitals, to protest the scheduled strike.
Protesters condemned those who threatened to strike at the expense of risking patients’ lives while violating medical workers’ professional ethics. They called on doctors and nurses to remain on duty and show solidarity with the public in the face of the crisis.
The Hospital Authority on Sunday called on medical staff to deal with problems through communication rather than going on strike as all the personnel share the common goal of fighting the coronavirus epidemic.
The authority vowed to set up a coordination center of major accidents as it estimates the upcoming strike could delay half of the surgeries scheduled for next week.
More than 80 private doctors and over 100 nurses volunteered to care for patients in public hospitals as they registered at the Hong Kong Practicing Specialists Association.
Meanwhile, local companies have joined in the countrywide efforts to battle the virus that has claimed more than 300 lives.
Biotechnology company GeneHarbor (Hong Kong) on Saturday announced plans to donate thousands of surgical gloves and masks to Hubei, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.
Earlier, entertainment group Emperor said it will donate a total of 10 million yuan (US$1.44 million) in cash and medical supplies to Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak. Shimao Property also made a donation of HK$30 million (US$3.86 million) to the province, which is short of medical equipment.
READ MORE: HK rules out complete lockdown
Meanwhile, in Macao, another case of coronavirus infection was confirmed on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections in the city to eight. The case was also the first local resident who has contracted the disease, authorities said.
Shenzhen also confirmed local community transmission after three people were found to have contracted the virus locally. The city had reported 207 confirmed cases as of Sunday.
HONG KONG NEWS