Hong Kong's last isolation facility for Covid patients - the Penny's Bay Quarantine Centre on Lantau, was decommissioned Wednesday morning as a band played Auld Lang Syng and an official placed a giant fake padlock on the entrance gate.
Previously, travelers and infected people including babies were forced into government-run isolation centers such as Penny’s Bay, where they had to endure spartan conditions and attempts to escape could result in jail time.
Officiating the ceremony, Under Secretary for Security Michael Cheuk Wing-hing said the camp had housed a total of 270,000 people since it was brought into the Covid
fight in July 2020, adding that the camp had once accommodated 8,000 people at the same time during its busiest.
Cheuk thanked workers who operated the center, as well as government departments and contractors who helped to maintain the site - which Cheuk said had been used on many occasions, including as a quarantine center for domestic workers, the Penny's Bay DSE exam center, and voting stations for the city’s elections.
He also thanked those who stayed at the camp, acknowledging their sacrifice for the city’s Covid
Meanwhile, the Civil Aid Service's chief staff officer, Leung Kwun-hong, said various government units had worked closely to admit patients quickly and cater to their needs, while some 340,000 man-time of CAS members were mobilized to maintain the site’s operations.
He said part of the camp will be put on standby and can be mobilized within 48 hours when required.
The Penny's Bay site was initially a quarantine facility for close contacts of Covid
patients, but was subsequently used to accommodate those who caught the virus and showed mild symptoms.
People who are infected with Covid
-19 are no longer required to be isolated as authorities lifted the rule at the end of January.