Hong Kong protesters set planned quarantine building on fire amid coronavirus concerns
- A group of protesters launched a Molotov cocktail in a newly built Hong Kong residential building that was slated to serve as a quarantine area for people exposed to the coronavirus.
- The fire marked a new high in tensions over the government's response to the alarming virus outbreak, as protesters objected to the quarantined area's location.
- The outbreak now has 2,744 confirmed cases of the virus, which can pass from human to human via saliva or phlegm.
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A group of protesters lit a lobby of a newly built residential building on fire Sunday in Hong Kong as tensions rise over the coronavirus outbreak.
Authorities had announced earlier in the day that they planned to convert Fai Ming Estate, an unoccupied public building, into temporary flats for quarantine of people who could have contracted the virus.
Reuters reported that tensions over the government's response to the alarming virus outbreak reached a fever pitch when several masked protesters, dressed in black, set a Molotov cocktail off inside the building.
The death toll of the outbreak hit 80, with 2,744 people infected worldwide on January 27, according to China's National Health Committee. In the weeks after the outbreak, it was discovered that the coronavirus can pass from human to human via saliva or phlegm, creating newfound concerns for those living in areas with existing patients of the virus.
"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," a 28-year-old resident surnamed Tsang told Reuters
After the violent protest, the government said it would "cease the related preparation work in Fai Ming Estate," according to Reuters.
Some have called for Hong Kong officials to block its border with mainland China to further minimize the risk of infection, but Reuters noted that so far authorities have only shuttered direct train and flight connections to and from Wuhan, central China.
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