Chinese cities announce rewards for tip-offs on Hong Kongers fleeing Covid

Chinese cities announce rewards for   tip-offs on Hong Kongers fleeing Covid

Beijing: Multiple Chinese cities have announced cash rewards for tip-offs about people illegally crossing into the mainland from Hong Kong which is experiencing a massive fifth COVID-19 wave, overwhelming the local health system, state media reported on Saturday.

Zhuhai, Huizhou and Dongguan in China's south Guangdong province close to Hong Kong have announced cash rewards for people who report suspected illegal crossings from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) amid reports of people fleeing to mainland by road and sea to escape the spread of the contagion, state-run Global Times reported on Saturday.

Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China, reported 6,063 infections in addition to 7,400 preliminary-positive cases on Saturday, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper reported.

With the death of 15 patients, the coronavirus-related death toll reached 280. The latest infections brought the overall tally to 46,763 cases.

Such was the caseload that hundreds of suspected COVID-19 patients, who were forced to wait outside public

hospitals for admission over the past few days, had now been moved indoors.

As the situation deteriorated, reports say Hong Kong is busy converting auditoriums and dormitories to accommodate surging cases even as it plans to build a Wuhan style makeshift hospital to accommodate hundreds of patients.

Chinese cities Zhuhai and Dongguan have announced cash rewards capped at 100,000 yuan (USD 15,785) for tip-offs for suspected smuggling of Hong Kongers by vehicle or boat.

The reward for reporting group smuggling is 30,000 yuan (over USD 4,600) and 10,000 yuan (over USD 1,500) for individuals illegally crossing the border, according to official notices. Chenzhou and Nan'an cities also released similar notices against the backdrop of five confirmed COVID cases being found among 15 who were smuggled from Hong Kong to the mainland via Zhuhai by boat on February 14.

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