Hong Kong hospital workers to strike in bid for closure of China borders

Thousands of Hong Kong Hospital workers voted to strike in an effort to pressure the government to close all borders with China to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

The pro-democracy Hospital Authority Employees Alliance voted Saturday for a strike that could start as early as Monday the South China Morning Post reported.

Workers in Hong Kong are ‘in a panic’ because of the risk of infection on the job, unions said.

The city’s health minister, Sophia Chan, shed tears as she appealed to staff not to strike prior to the vote.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam rejected the demands to close all mainland border checkpoints, citing recommendations from the World Health Organization to avoid unnecessary interference with trade or travel, even as the agency declared the virus a global health emergency.

Nevertheless, Lam ordered the suspension of high-speed rail service to mainland China and all cross-border ferry services, Reuters reported.

Many airlines have canceled most or all flights to China and after the WHO’s declaration, the US and several other countries banned entry by foreign nationals who have visited the country.

The official death toll in China from coronavirus is 259, with 11,791 confirmed infections, according to the Associated Press. Hong Kong has 10 confirmed cases, with one person in critical condition.

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