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The Latest: Hong Kong announces anti-virus funds

SeattlePI.com Friday, 14 February 2020 ()
BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on a new virus that originated in China (all times local):

8 p.m.

Hong Kong’s leader unveiled a 25 billion Hong Kong dollar ($3.2 billion) fund on Friday to bolster efforts to fight the virus outbreak, as the city announced three new cases, bringing its total to 56.

The amount is more than double the 10 billion Hong Kong dollars ($1.3 billion) the government initially planned.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam says the government will subsidize companies producing masks to boost supply and provide 4.7 billion Hong Kong dollars ($605 million) more to the Hospital Authority. Lam says cash handouts will also be given to poor families, students and other groups hit by the epidemic, including travel agencies, property management firms and restaurants.

Lam, whose government has come under fire for its perceived mishandling of the outbreak, says her administration has “put in every effort” to fight the virus. She said the emergency funding reflects its commitment to protect the welfare of the city’s 7.4 million people.

___

7:45 p.m.

Singapore has confirmed nine new cases of the new virus, bringing its total to 67. Six are related to a church where seven people including a senior pastor were earlier diagnosed.

The Grace Assembly of God church has shut down its two premises for two weeks and quarantined all staff as it urged members to pray for a victory over the virus.

The Catholic Church, meanwhile, announced that all public Masses will be halted indefinitely from Saturday to minimize the spread of the virus. Archbishop of Singapore William Goh said temperature screening isn’t fool proof since those who are asymptomatic could be carriers of the virus. As such, Goh said Catholics need to play their part in containing the virus by...
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