Strict Immigration Control
The Hospital Authority, which employs some 75,000 people, said it sympathized with calls to lower the risk of new infections but was opposed to industrial action, saying patients would suffer.
It warned half of pre-booked operations would be canceled or delayed by the strike.
Hong Kong’s government called on workers to “reconsider their decision, continue to safeguard Hong Kong with their professionalism and together win the battle against the disease”.
Some 13,400 mainlanders entered Hong Kong on Saturday, down from 27,800 three days earlier before the partial checkpoint closures were announced.
More than 100,000 Hong Kong residents are also returning to the city each day, some 56,000 via land crossings with the mainland.
Criticism of the Lam administration’s decision not to seal the border has come from opposition lawmakers and some medics — but also from her own pro-Beijing camp.
“We think the government should take decisive and strict immigration control measures to minimize the chances of the virus coming into the city,” Starry Lee, from the pro-establishment DAB Party, told reporters on Monday.
The virus outbreak comes at a politically precarious time for Lam who has record-low approval ratings after deploying riot police to face down seven months of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests.
Animosity towards Beijing and mainlanders has also risen steeply in recent years in lockstep with Hong Kongers pushing for democracy.
Many in Hong Kong feel an increasingly authoritarian Beijing is clamping down on the city’s freedoms.
And they also resent economic pressures caused by the influx of mainland immigrants and day-trippers, something that has helped ramp up prices of everything from pharmacy goods to retail rents and housing.
Anti-mainland sentiment has sometimes morphed into outright bigotry, especially online where insults and slurs abound.
On Sunday, police said two small explosive devices were left at a train station on Hong Kong’s border with Shenzhen, one of which partially detonated.