Calls grew on Wednesday to use hotels at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort as quarantine centres as the city tackled the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen added his voice to calls from lawmakers and urged the government to look at isolating those caught in the outbreak at the theme’s park accommodation, which is located in a secluded area of Lantau Island. The park is closed because of the outbreak. Hong Kong’s scramble to find quarantine locations meets resident outcry Laying out his suggestions, Tang, chairman of the pro-Beijing Friends of Hong Kong Association, said part of the People’s Liberation Army’s Shek Kong Barracks in Yuen Long and vacant land next to the theme park could be considered as well. He is also a member of China’s top political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Separately, the city’s leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she would invoke the chief executive’s special powers under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance and require all travellers entering from the mainland, including Hong Kong residents, to go into quarantine. Lam said officials were actively seeking proposals to add more quarantine facilities in the city, which currently only had three centres. “We have asked the Development Bureau to study into the vacant lands to see if we can add such facilities there through some sort of methods,” she said at a press conference. But she could not name any sites. Lam’s move came as three more cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Hong Kong, bringing the total to 21. The city’s first coronavirus death was reported on Tuesday. The contagion, which originated in Wuhan, has also killed nearly 500 people in mainland China, and infected more than 24,500 worldwide. Local officials are searching for new sites to serve as quarantine centres, while also looking at extending existing facilities. Cathay asks its 27,000 employees to take three weeks unpaid leave There are 97 living spaces at the three sites currently in use for those who had close contact with confirmed cases – Lady MacLehose Holiday Village and Po Leung Kuk Jockey Club Pak Tam Chung Holiday Camp in Sai Kung, as well as Lei Yue Mun Park and Holiday Village in Shau Kei Wan. Another 300 mobile units each housing an unknown number of patients would also be installed at the three locations, as well as Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre, the Post reported on Sunday. However, the planned deployments have met resistance from local residents. Violence broke out in Fanling last month after the government identified a public housing estate in the border town as a potential quarantine site. “[The government] can consider using places remote from residential areas, for example, the hotels at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort as quarantine facilities,” tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing wrote in a letter to the commerce minister. Yiu said in an interview on Wednesday that Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah had told him he would look at the suggestion. Yiu said Disneyland’s three hotels, with a total of 1,750 rooms, were away from residential areas, as well as each other. “We suggested it in view of the current situation and think everyone has a social responsibility,” he said, adding he had not talked to the theme park yet. He said Disneyland would have its own considerations, including the impact on its branding and how to reassure guests their facilities were safe once they eventually reopened to the public. Macau casinos to close for two weeks after hotel worker infected with virus On Monday, Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai and lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan made a similar proposal. “We have noticed the places the government wants to turn into quarantine facilities are near residential areas. As it hasn’t consulted district councils, residents have concerns,” Wong said. “Since Disneyland is still closed, maybe the number of guests at its hotels will be small.” The attraction, and its rival Ocean Park in Southern district, shut its gates indefinitely from January 26 as a precaution against the new coronavirus. Wu and Wong also suggested building quarantine facilities on the 60-hectare site reserved for Disneyland’s second-phase development. Three new cases of coronavirus emerge in Hong Kong That idea was floated separately by the city’s biggest pro-establishment party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. The Tourism Commission said it understood the Food and Health Bureau and the Department of Health had been exploring different options for quarantine facilities. The Post has contacted Disneyland for comment. Meanwhile, Christine McCarthy, chief financial officer at the Walt Disney Company, on Tuesday revealed the park’s closure was expected to hit operating income by US$40 million in the three months ending March 31. Coupled with the tourism downturn brought by the ongoing civil unrest, the company estimated the operating income would decline by about US$145 million for the same period. “The current closure is taking place during the quarter in which we typically see strong attendance and occupancy levels due to the timing of the Chinese New Year holiday,” she said.