More ambush lockdowns on Monday night, with no Covid carriers found. Just some people stuck in a hair salon overnight. And then last night’s, which disrupted some guys having their hair dyed/permed. (Low-rent neighbourhoods have more hair stylists – that’s my theory.)
What’s the purpose?
Does it have a scientific basis in combatting the pandemic, even when no cases are identified, and even though antibodies cannot be detected during a (approx two-week) incubation period? Is it churlish to criticize officials for taking the threat of Covid-19 so apparently seriously (deep throat saliva collection packs at every post office)?
If the ambush lockdowns are not scientifically valid, could it be that Carrie Lam and her colleagues – owing to stupidity or bad advice – nonetheless sincerely believe the operations are worthwhile?
Is it a performance to show Beijing how tough, determined and zealous the Hong Kong administration is? (Beijing has urged local authorities to address the pandemic. And these lockdowns are small-scale versions of those that have taken place in the Mainland.)
Is it an excuse to spend public money on Mainland-sourced testing services?
Or are the raids, with heavy police participation, trial runs/training exercises for NatSec Regime neighbourhood lockdowns in the event of another 2019-style uprising? (EG, reports of a 12-year-old girl singing Glory to Hong Kong, or suspicions that a resident has an unregistered SIM card.) Or a way to condition the community to accept heavy-handed enforcement action – intimidation – generally? Note threats to knock doors down.
For conspiracy-theory fans (assuming the last one is not hugely unbelievable): do the CCP really just want everyone’s DNA?
More than one of the above?
At best, it seems excessive, given the virus’s limited spread in Hong Kong. At worst, cynics can’t help considering the government’s apparent reluctance to get on with vaccinations and the broader context of a city in suspended rebellion. Covid-19 has already served as a pretext for forbidding public assemblies. In what other ways might the NatSec Regime find the crisis useful?
The SCMP has a helpful explainer on how to tell if the jack-booted Ambush Raid Testing Squad are coming to kick doors down in your tenement block.
One more question to ponder: are ambush lockdowns a ruse to introduce the waddle-like-a-penguin test?