The Union for New Civil Servants (UNCS) organized a rally on 19 February to express their strong distain for the government’s apathetic attitude towards the epidemic. The government then released a statement expressing disappointment towards the action, citing that all civil servants should have a responsibility of following the government’s policies to combat the virus and corroborate with other sectors of the society.
UNCS releases the following responses:
1. The government spokesperson stated that Hong Kong stands in a “critical moment” in combating the virus, yet Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung had claimed that the epidemic was “under control” a few days prior.
UNCS called for the government to adopt an agreed-on stance regarding the state of the epidemic in Hong Kong, as conflicts between the statements may cause confusion among the public and civil servants.
2. UNCS wished that the government would not undermine civil servants’ and civilians’ freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in the name of combating the Wuhan Pneumonia.
3. The government spokesperson stated that “the distribution of protective gear was based on the risks involved in the duties assigned”, while the Chief Executive had also emphasized that all protective gear are to be reserved for medical staff first.
Yet many news sources had indicated that the police, who were assigned to only man their cordon received far more protective gear than medical staff and staff from the Fire and Ambulance Services, who serve in the frontline against this epidemic.
UNCS questioned whether this imbalance in the distribution of resources is a direct violation of the CE’s orders or a reversal in priority in government policy.
Source: Government Statement; UNCS Response