HONG KONG: People under quarantine staying in temporary accommodation provided by the Hong Kong government will have to pay a daily fee of HK$200 (US$25.75) from Tuesday (Mar 17).
The government said it is aware of "suspected cases" of people abusing the temporary accommodation, including Hong Kong residents who insist on staying in the accommodation despite having their own residences.
It noted that some Hong Kong residents had frequently travelled between mainland China and Hong Kong after the compulsory quarantine arrangement took effect on Feb 8, and repeatedly stayed in temporary accommodation upon their return to the city.
The daily fee will help "combat abuse of the facilities and reserve places for people with genuine need", the government statement added.
The fee will be used for accommodation and meal arrangements at three quarantine sites that are “close to their maximum capacity”, namely Tso Kung Tam Outdoor Recreation Centre, Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre and Lady MacLehose Holiday Village.
These facilities are for Hong Kong residents under quarantine who are unable to arrange accommodation locally after returning from mainland China.
Since Feb 8, anyone arriving in the city from mainland China, except the Hubei province, would face a mandatory two-week quarantine as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Residents from the Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, have been barred from entering Hong Kong since January.
“Since the implementation of the compulsory quarantine arrangement, attendance of more than 700 has been recorded at the above three temporary accommodation sites provided by the government,” the Hong Kong government said.
“As the occupancy rates of the three temporary accommodation sites are already close to their maximum capacity, it is expected that the temporary accommodation sites will be insufficient to meet the needs of all Hong Kong residents returning from the mainland.”
To date, there are 149 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections in Hong Kong and four fatalities.