HK reaches ‘zero dynamic scrambling around’ stage

Announcements and reports (dense press releases here and here, lighter RTHK reads here and here, HKFP here) confirm that Hong Kong authorities are relaxing certain anti-Covid measures. Examples include handing out rapid test kits rather than using slower compulsory testing, and discharging double-vaccinated patients who test negative after one week. Given the mismatch between the rising numbers of cases and testing/isolation capacity, officials simply have no choice but to allow isolation at home and earlier release from quarantine, while insisting it’s still ‘dynamic zero’.

Maybe this is a bit premature – but what’s the chance that the planned city-wide triple mass-testing is abandoned, and everyone simply given self-testing kits and self-isolation instructions?

At the very least, could it be that infections are so numerous by the time the mega-testing starts that we will have an option of reporting a positive self-test result on-line, rather than booking three tests and turning up to them all?

Or has Beijing committed to so many high-profile projects (building isolation facilities, sending medics, etc) that we have go through with it in order to make the CCP look and feel useful? In which case, will they revert to the previous tighter rules when case numbers fall? Just how bad is Beijing prepared to look in its efforts to appear good?

(Under ‘emergency decree’, a thousand Mainland care workers are coming into Hong Kong, and environmental rules are swept aside to build isolation facilities. One new facility is luring staff from regular hospitals with HK$50,000 salaries.)

More international coverage – and unfortunate comparisons with Singapore – of Hong Kong from France 24, AP (Reg not amused) and the (paywalled) FT

The territory’s commitment to a controversial zero-Covid strategy has made it clear that Beijing’s policy priorities are paramount and will be enforced even if they are not in Hong Kong’s best interests as an international financial centre.

…While it would be much easier to reserve hospital beds for severe Covid cases and let mild and asymptomatic ones isolate at home, that would … represent the first major failure of Xi’s zero-Covid policy.

…“The mistake [Lam] made was not making vaccinations mandatory,” said one person close to the chief executive. “It came down to the president finally blowing his top and reading the riot act to [Hong Kong’s] government. Suddenly everyone is scrambling around.”

Some thoughts from Dr Owen…

Narrative matters

We had a choice between a planned or forced pivot

We chose King Canute and Nero rather than science

Dynamic zero chance of that being the best strategy for population health

It’s a bit late, but in case you haven’t – get that third dose, and make it BioNTech

…after receiving a booster, the effectiveness of three doses of the BioNTech vaccine may be as high as 89 per cent, declining to 86 per cent after three months and 77 per cent after six months, whereas three doses of Sinovac may only be 36 per cent effective, falling drastically to 19 per cent after three months, and standing at a mere 8 per cent after six months.

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13 Responses to HK reaches ‘zero dynamic scrambling around’ stage

  1. donkey says:

    “Maybe this is a bit premature – but what’s the chance that the planned city-wide triple mass-testing is abandoned, and everyone simply given self-testing kits and self-isolation instructions?”

    This is exactly what is going to happen, and the funny thing about it is, they put so much hard work into showing us how much the Mainland is going to help us. Once again the seditious prove prescient.

  2. Knownot says:

    In the First Week of the War

    “Deep in the winter plain, two armies
    Dig their machinery, to destroy each other.
    Men freeze and hunger. No one is given leave
    On either side, except the dead and wounded.
    They have their leave.”

    Distant cousins, now close enemies, fight.
    One side – have they eaten?
    Has the looting started? Have the rapes begun?
    The other side – have they slept?
    These guns, so newly in their hands –
    Clerks and teachers, market-gardeners,
    Businessmen, dry cleaners, crane operators,
    Can they aim and shoot?

    The foreign men in uniform, young men,
    Are boys, really. They were not born for this,
    To die at twenty in a foreign field.
    Or – an alternative – to drag through life
    On crutches; or to moan
    With half a jaw, or half a brain.

    Once there was an empire; it has crumbled.
    Now there is a man. He has an army,
    Drones, missiles, rockets, shells, bombs.
    He has computers, cameras, secret men.
    He has a vision. Vladimir Imperator.
    We are lucky to be living while he reigns.
    Look up at him and marvel.

    [ The first stanza is from ‘Two Armies’ by Stephen Spender. ]

  3. dopey says:

    One can only hope so vis-a-vis abandoning mass PCR testing and jailing of those unfortunates who test positive. But I can’t help feeling that the cruelty of the policy is the point.

  4. pile says:

    When I was a kid, I was told that traditional Chinese buildings have pitched and curved roofs because they allow rainwater to fall more naturally to the ground. In this way, the Chinese culture is unique as it tries to accommodate nature rather than treating it as something to be overcome. But now, we are told that declaring war on the virus, rather than finding ways to live with it, is the only Chinese way. I think they have confused the CCP’s way with the Chinese way.

  5. Load Toad says:

    Dynamic Zero…yet another failure of the Carrie Lam Administration – everything she touches turns into an expensive, destructive fiasco.

  6. Jennifer Anne Eagleton says:

    They have built the new prison units – surely they have to justify their construction by using them?

  7. Big Al says:

    When it turns out that the compulsory universal blah blah gets shelved in favour of staying at home for a couple of weeks watching Netflix and taking daily RATs, I have no doubt that Junius or someone of his ilk will suggest the newly built quarantine prisons are repurposed as “education facilities” for NSL offenders and “staycation retreats” for non-patriots. Xianggang=Xinjiang?

  8. Stanley Lieber says:

    In the SCMP comments today:

    “The Head of the Hospital Authority is saying there is a shortage of drivers to transport corpses from hospitals to mortuaries. Let’s redeploy the Government chauffeurs from driving our officials to driving the vehicles that transport the corpses. The drivers won’t notice the difference in passengers anyway.” 😂

  9. justsayin says:

    It’s ‘Dynamic Zero Fun’ the way things are being run in HK these days

    I wonder what the real COVID numbers are on the mainland…

  10. Knownot says:

    ” it would be much easier to reserve hospital beds for severe Covid cases and let mild and asymptomatic ones isolate at home”

    The trouble is – at home they are not isolated, they are close to other family members who they might infect. So they might prefer not to go home.

  11. Tide Typer says:

    I’m rather surprised it took Dr Owen so long: I thought anyone with half a brain would have worked out years ago that the HK Government are a bunch of Cnuts. Catch up, mate.

  12. Tide Typer says:

    Also good to see Cnut Ip unwittingly explaining Dynamic Zero Covid in a way that actually makes some sort of sense (2nd tweet on “Reg not amused” link):

    “Dynamic zero Covid” does not mean insisting on zero infections. Trouble is Hong Kong is not dynamic enough in early detection, isolation and treatment.

    So the HK Govt’s Dynamic Zero Covid policy is to do nothing dynamic about covid.

  13. Guest says:

    @justsayin: I’ve been wondering about the Mainland’s real SARS numbers for almost 20 years.

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