Retired tycoon Li Ka-shing will donate a fresh round of HK$101 million (US$13 million) to Hong Kong’s medical and welfare sectors as the city battles the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
His charity flagship, Li Ka Shing Foundation, said on Thursday that the donation would benefit more patients who fell outside the city’s social security safety net and were ineligible for government subsidies. The funding will also help medical school graduates and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
It followed last year’s donation of HK$100 million to the medical sector.
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A key part of the new donation – branded “Love can Help II’ – will be spent to continue subsidised services for heart diseases with the public facility – Tuen Mun Hospital, and privately-owned Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital.
Li, who turned 92 on Wednesday, and is a senior adviser to his property-led empire – CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings, on Thursday expressed his gratitude to Hong Kong’s medical professionals for their fight against the pandemic.
“In these particularly challenging and vulnerable times, your conscientiousness and perseverance is a bright light of assurance to Hong Kong. The greatest gift of support to your effort is self-discipline,” he said.
“I humbly urge each and every citizen of our city to exercise so. A big thank you also to our social welfare workers who strive to maintain services under such critical circumstances. We are grateful to all of you for your dedication and professionalism.”
Hong Kong’s medical sector has lately been under huge pressure as the third wave of the pandemic has put the city’s health infrastructure to the test.
To encourage students of the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong to stay back to serve the city, fresh graduates this year and next year will each be given a HK$50,000 cash gift. This costs HK$20.8 million, or one-fifth of the total donation.
A lion’s share, HK$48 million, will be used to improve heart disease-related services at Hospital Authority’s hospitals.
Another key part of the funding, HK$22 million, will be funnelled to support 12 NGOs that offer services to those suffering from various types of disabilities, and to the elderly, and underprivileged families.
They are Ebenezer School & Home for the Visually Impaired, SAHK, New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, Hong Chi Association, Make-A-Wish Hong Kong, TREATS, The Marycove Center of Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Hans Andersen Club, Project Concern Hong Kong, Health In Action, The Centre for Spiritual Progress to Great Awakening, and Food Angel.
Alice Yuk, CEO of Ebenezer School & Home for the Visually Impaired, welcomed the donation.
“The donation will help Ebenezer students to reach higher levels of employability, to apply what they have learned from their training in caring for the elderly and those suffering from diseases such as dementia.”
Earlier, Li Ka Shing Foundation donated HK$100 million to help Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province in mainland China where Covid-19 was first reported, and HK$80 million to Hong Kong to contain the pandemic.
Hong Kong on Thursday registered a record 149 new confirmed coronavirus cases, taking the Covid-19 total in the city to 3,151, with 24 deaths. The city registered three-figure increases in infections for the ninth day in a row.
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