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.)
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…
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.