Planned coronavirus quarantine building torched by Hong Kong protesters

HONG KONG – A group of protesters set alight on Sunday the lobby of a newly built residential building in Hong Kong that authorities planned to use as a quarantine facility, as public fears in the financial hub about the coronavirus outbreak intensified.

A Reuters witness saw several masked protesters, clad in black, rush into the public housing block in Hong Kong’s Fanling district near to the border with China, and set alight a Molotov cocktail before running out. Black smoke could be seen pouring out of the building to the sound of fire alarms. Windows were smashed.

Earlier in the afternoon, hundreds of regular Hong Kong citizens had blocked roads leading to the building with bricks and other debris, as anger grew towards government plans to convert the building into a quarantine zone as the number of confirmed cases in the city climbed to six on Sunday.

“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,” said a 28-year-old resident surnamed Tsang.

Public calls have also grown for the Hong Kong government to block the financial hub’s border with mainland China to further minimise the risk of infection.

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