Civil servants to resume work – will anyone notice difference?

If the Hong Kong government thinks it might be OK to send its precious staff back to work, we can assume it is probably safe to relax the city’s internal anti-virus social-distancing regime. But there are three challenges.

First, can panicky types get over wetting themselves at the sight of anyone socializing? What will nervous ninnies worry about instead?

Second, will the police oppose easing the controls, which have become a convenient pretext for the suppression of political gatherings, protests, shopping-mall singalongs and other national-security threats?

And most of all, can officials resist the inevitable calls to open up the borders to the tourist hordes and risk unleashing the pestilence so their landlord friends can hike the rents back up?

For a good summary of Hong Kong’s success in quashing the virus, and the dilemma concerning cross-border and international travel, see David Webb’s latest.

The worst-case scenario is that Hong Kong lets Mainlanders pour in to give Beijing face (though at the moment Shenzhen authorities are if anything more aggressive about imposing quarantines on inbound travel).

The ideal outcome is (see Webb) the establishment of an international community of virus-free zones, allowing Hongkongers, Macanese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, New Zealanders and Icelanders to travel freely among their own jurisdictions and the rest of the planet just has to stay put. Maybe for decades. Sounds pretty good.

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5 Responses to Civil servants to resume work – will anyone notice difference?

  1. Hamantha says:

    For as “unprecedented” a calamity as many claim the WuFlu Pandemic to be, it sure does seem like history is repeating itself, what with the WuFlu following so closely in the footsteps of the 1918 Spanish Flu.

    In this particular case, relaxation of social distancing protocols will inevitably lead to subsequent outbreaks of the disease, just like it did during the Spanish Flu.

    Just like the Spanish Flu, we can expect one of the many mutant strains of the virus currently in circulation (seriously, there are already dozens of different strains floating about) to emerge several as a new, more dominant strain in the months and years ahead, leading to a resumption of shutdowns and social distancting measures.

    I get it. People — seemingly including our very own Hemlock, at least judging by today’s post — are tiring of the inconveniences necessitated by these anti-pandemic measures. Unfortunately, this disease has proven particularly insidious, showing characteristics that resemble HIV, what iwth its penchant for targeting the body’s innate immune system, its long incubation periods, and its ability to seemingly re-infect people multiple times (even with the same strain!). For a disease as stealthy as this, only extreme, prolonged measures will suffice in gaurding against a large-scale community outbreak.

    We’ll be lucky if there are any vaccines at all which can successfully counter the disease, and even more lucky if these vaccines can be mass produced and distributed anytime in the following year or the next.

    In short, this thing will be around for a long, long time. Welcome to the new normal.

  2. asiaseen says:

    Is New Zealand, in particular, counting its chickens too soon? As, maybe, the rest of the southern hemisphere. They are only a month or so into autumn with the annual flu season yet to come. From June onwards the story may be very different.

  3. Stephen says:

    I believe the horrifying scenes at a Taikoo shopping mall yesterday show exactly why we must keep our guard up against the plague. Lifting them on 2 July would seem wholly appropriate.

  4. asiaseen says:

    “The worst-case scenario is that Hong Kong lets Mainlanders pour in…”
    Given today’s announcement by “Professor” Sophia Chan looks like the worst-case is in the pipeline.
    As an aside how come Sophia is/was Professor of Nursing at HKU when her cv suggests she’s never seen a bedpan in her life?

  5. Penny says:

    @Stephen – horrifying scenes at Taikoo mall? What were the HKPF doing that was so horrifying this time?

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