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China's France envoy slams 'shameful' Hong Kong medical strike

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China's ambassador to France on Wednesday slammed as "shameful" the decision by Hong Kong medical workers to strike, accusing them of putting lives at risk in the midst of a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

[PARIS] China's ambassador to France on Wednesday slammed as "shameful" the decision by Hong Kong medical workers to strike, accusing them of putting lives at risk in the midst of a deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Hundreds of medical staff in Hong Kong walked off the job on Monday, demanding that the semi-autonomous territory completely seal its border with mainland China to stop the spread of the virus, which has claimed nearly 500 lives worldwide.

"I think it's shameful," Mr Lu told a press conference in Paris.

"At a time when everyone is throwing themselves into the fight against the epidemic, and a few cases have already been confirmed (in Hong Kong), it's not fair."

"These people are not working to save lives, their actions have grave consequences. It only serves to underscores their perversity," he said, warning of the "extreme politicisation" of some in a territory that was rocked by months of anti-government protests last year.

On Monday, Hong Kong's leadership announced the closure of all but two land crossings with mainland China.

On Wednesday, the city's leader Carrie Lam said anyone arriving from the mainland would face a mandatory two-week quarantine following the first reported death in Hong Kong from the disease.

Mr Lu said he was "certain that the epidemic will be fully brought under control".

While admitting that the virus would damage the Chinese and global economy he said he was sure the fallout would be short-lived.

"The Chinese economy has become an ocean, capable of withstanding storms," he said, assuring it would "not change the positive fundamentals of the Chinese economy."

AFP