If Chief Executive Carrie Lam had an ounce of political sense, or just basic people skills, she would now start drafting a speech to deliver in maybe a month or so. In it, she would praise the Hong Kong people for their effort and spirit in the face of WuFlu. She would admit that her administration perhaps wasn’t always as quick to respond as it could have been – but the city’s people had the initiative and resourcefulness to take their own precautions regardless, and helped by dedicated health-care, cleansing and other staff, the community had come through largely safe. She would express her respect and thanks.
Obviously, this is the last thing she’ll do. But with the virus sweeping the rest of the world, Hong Kong can (fingers crossed) give itself a pat on the back. Here’s a good description of how Hongkongers…
…convinced our government was failing at a time of crisis, as it had since June 2019 … acted as if the virus was already here and raging undetected.
…and went back into SARS mode. The article says that the twin assumptions that the threat was real and the government useless created a version of herd immunity – other viral infections also fell this winter.
Asia’s other (former) ‘little dragons’ did it their own way. While Hong Kong was avid about masks, school-closures and social distance, Taiwan ended traffic from China early and rationed protective supplies, and Singapore nagged about hand-washing and threatened quarantine-breakers with extreme punishments. No-one knows how well each precaution on its own worked. But the lesson is clear: act fast and just do the whole lot.
Another lesson is that, if possible, you should be a small centralized city-state or modest-sized island nation, rather than have a sprawling patchwork of municipal health departments and hospital systems.
Lastly, there’s an element of luck. In South Korea, just one person at a church meeting led to hundreds of infections. As Trey Menefee points out, the actions of Mainland authorities in Shenzhen and Guangdong fortunately helped insulate Hong Kong. Then again, if Mainland authorities elsewhere hadn’t screwed everything up, we would never have had a problem in the first place.
I declare the weekend open with a little selection of related items. Unmitigated Audacity of the Week Award goes to China’s foreign ministry spokesman for suggesting that the WuFlu virus came from the US. One of China’s top doctors has been fired for rejecting CCP-promoted ancient voodoo treatments. And Mainlanders are using imaginative ways to spread WuFlu information online without getting censored – including putting sdrawkcab stxet eritne and using Hebrew, Morse code, Braille, emoji (good luck with that) and something called ‘Elf language’ (with a beautiful script).