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Planned coronavirus quarantine building torched by Hong Kong protesters

Published Jan 26, 2020

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HONG KONG - A group of protesters set

alight on Sunday the lobby of a newly built residential building

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in Hong Kong that authorities planned to use as a quarantine

facility, as public fears in the financial hub about the

coronavirus outbreak intensified.

A Reuters witness saw several masked protesters, clad in

black, rush into the public housing block in Hong Kong's Fanling

district near to the border with China, and set alight a Molotov

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cocktail before running out. Black smoke could be seen pouring

out of the building to the sound of fire alarms. Windows were

smashed.

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Earlier in the afternoon, hundreds of regular Hong Kong

citizens had blocked roads leading to the building with bricks

and other debris, as anger grew towards government plans to

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convert the building into a quarantine zone as the number of

confirmed cases in the city climbed to six on Sunday.

"We are dissatisfied with the government selecting this

housing estate as a (quarantine) separation village as it's very

close to a residential area and a primary school," said a

28-year-old resident surnamed Tsang.

Public calls have also grown for the Hong Kong government to

block the financial hub's border with mainland China to further

minimise the risk of infection.

Earlier on Sunday, Hong Kong authorities said they would

convert "Fai Ming Estate, an unoccupied public estate in

Fanling, into temporary flats for quarantine and observation of

close contact persons without symptoms if needed".

Health authorities in the afternoon said 107 people were now

under quarantine, and there were 77 suspected cases.

The ability of the new coronavirus to spread is

strengthening and infections could continue to rise, China's

National Health Commission said on Sunday, with nearly 2,000

people in China infected and 56 killed by the disease.

A handful of cases have been reported outside China,

including in Thailand, Australia, the United States and France,

with health authorities around the world racing to prevent a

pandemic.

Reuters

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