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Wen lauds HK's victory over SARS
( 2003-07-01 06:37) (China Daily)

Premier Wen Jiabao Monday spoke highly of Hong Kong's medical professionals and other frontline workers in the fight against SARS.

Premier Wen Jiabao meets with medical workers in Hong Kong. [newsphoto.com.cn]
"On behalf of the Central government, I wish to pay high tribute to all those who have made remarkable contributions to the successful campaign against SARS,'' Wen told a group of Hong Kong healthcare workers and other representatives at a ceremony to honour their work.

He extended the Central government's heartfelt condolences to families who lost loved ones to the disease.

Wen said during the three-month epidemic, Hong Kong health workers fought the disease with extraordinary courage and selflessness and its scientific experts raced against time to seek solutions. Its citizens united to battle the virus, and its government fulfilled its duties and commitment to the people.

"It is such unprecedented solidarity that has enabled Hong Kong to prevail in the fight against SARS,'' said Wen.

He said while the SARS outbreak had cost the city dearly, it also showed people that economic advances must go hand-in-hand with social progress, and man and nature must co-exist peacefully.

Before attending the ceremony yesterday, Wen impressed Hong Kong residents with his relaxed, casual style.

"He's very natural,'' said 45-year-old housewife Connie Wong, who shook Wen's hand during his surprise visit to a French-style sandwich shop.

"He's very friendly,'' she said. "He has a great smile.''

Wen was also welcomed by residents of Amoy Gardens and the healthcare workers at the Prince of Wales Hospital.

The Premier took part in no less than seven activities, on land and sea, on the second day of his visit to Hong Kong.

He began the day with a tour of a container terminal before embarking on a boat trip around the Tsing Ma Bridge and the site of the Disney theme park, which is to be completed in 2005.

Marvelling at the vibrant development, Wen said: "I am very happy about the achievements that Hong Kong has attained. Hong Kong people are proud of this, every Chinese is proud of this.''

Wen later visited Amoy Gardens, where more than 40 residents were killed and about 300 infected by SARS. He went to Block E to see Mr Kwok, whose wife was killed by the disease.

Mrs Kwok was pregnant when she was infected with SARS. The baby boy was delivered by Caesarean section after his mother died.

The Premier expressed his condolences to Mr Kwok.

He then went to Prince of Wales Hospital, where many healthcare workers fell ill in the early stages of the outbreak.

Showing his appreciation for their hard work, Wen wrote on a commemorative plaque a "Tribute to Healthcare Workers,'' signing his name before presenting it to the healthcare workers.

He said he was thankful to the medical workers because they had saved the lives of more than 1,000 people. He was sad to learn that some of them lost their lives taking care of patients.

In the afternoon, Wen visited the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and was presented with a broker's vest bearing the number 6638.

He also toured the medical faculty of the University of Hong Kong, where he delivered a short speech to about 100 staff and students.

"We should have confidence that we can not only run Hong Kong well but also preserve the prosperity and stability in Hong Kong,'' Wen said.

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