Full (or not) lockdown might happen (or not)

Hong Kong’s Health Secretary says a full lockdown might still take place, despite previous denials. Thus panic-buying. That said, even a ‘full’ lockdown would not be a really ‘full’ one – with the stock exchange staying open, for example. And private and international schools (known to officials as ‘the ones our kids go to’) are exempted from the early summer vacation. 

One of Beijing’s top health people arrives to great fanfare, and Chief Executive Carrie Lam delivers a not-very-reassuring speech stressing the importance of and need for Mainland support… 

The CE said Hong Kong is not able to handle the Omicron outbreak on its own and that’s why in early February she asked the central government for help.

“The central government is highly concerned about Hong Kong’s epidemic situation and it cares about Hong Kong people’s wellbeing. It has been coordinating everything Hong Kong needs and has been responding to us immediately and actively,” she said.

…“With the strong support from the central government, the SAR government will firmly follow the instruction of President Xi Jinping, and will bear the main responsibility and make it its top priority to contain the outbreak,” she said.

“The epidemic is ruthless and the situation is critical. But with the full support of the central government, Hong Kong will be able to come out safely from danger.”

There is a gap between Carrie’s patriotic alarmism and her leading officials’ actions (or lack of them). Reading between the lines, it looks like local officials are trying, in their inept way, to adapt to the realities of Omicron – but are being pulled in the opposite direction by Beijing’s determination to prove it must and can suppress the outbreak. It’s hard to tell incompetence not just from malice, but from resistance.

The semi-‘full lockdown’ that may or may not happen is still another two weeks away – by which time the exercise will be more futile than ever. (Tests for 7.5 million every three days?) Yet Beijing has put a lot of effort into convincing everyone that it’s the only way. HK01 looks inside grim-looking Mainland-built isolation and treatment facilities (English summary here), which Xinhua hails as magnificent feats of ultra-quick construction.

Some interesting charts on Hong Kong’s Covid situation here.

To add to the mood of despair – births in Hong Kong hit a 56-year low.

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13 Responses to Full (or not) lockdown might happen (or not)

  1. Quentin Quarantino says:

    Did you see the pictures of the “isolation facility” in Tsing Yi with those “retro” made-in-China squat toilets? At the far end of the “facility” you’ll find communal “shower areas”, next to the ovens of the “bakery”, where they “bake bread”.

    Can’t wait to check in. *me first, me first…!*

  2. donkey says:

    the only “danger” we have to worry about is the mental ineptitude of the hong kong government. causing panics is just making everything worse. they have no clue what they’re doing.

  3. Mark Bradley says:

    “Can’t wait to check in. *me first, me first…!*”

    I wonder who will check into the oven?

  4. reductio says:

    Yes, prison-like and spartan for most of us. Now I’m going out on a limb here but let’s think; if I were a cage dweller in some Hung Hom shithole then this is definitely a massive step up. Aircon, more space, and better fire safety. Perhaps post omicron this could be reutilised for some such.

  5. Mark Bradley says:

    “Aircon, more space, and better fire safety. ”

    Are you sure about the aircon?

  6. reductio says:

    @Mark Bradley

    Think that’s the case, looking at the pics, they all seem to have split-level aircon. Hope it works well or it’s going to be sweaty in there.

  7. HillnotPeak says:

    I like the non matching beds at the isolation facility, guess different government departments involved.

  8. Probably says:

    Is that quote by Curry lamb, the highest paid leader in the world, an admission of incompetence that they don’t know what to do? Every other country in the world seems to have managed without calling for outside help. Maybe she should follow the Taiwan approach (and not just in virus protection?

  9. Refugee from Hong Kong says:

    The new place in Tsing Yi has metal bars all over the windows of each isolation room. Also telling that the news releases termed such rooms as “cells”.

    I think this fact really betrays the “secret” plan of the Mainland authorities: that is, the coming lockdown(s) will be harsh, involuntary, and not too dissimilar to those in Wuhan, Xi’an, etc.

    Those eternal optimists hoping for a soft landing to the local outbreak will be disappointed. Indeed, several BigLychee readers may find themselves reading the blog from this type of facility in the very near future — assuming they have access to the internet. (For future internees reading this: hello from the past, and keep strong!)

    The unfortunate reality is that people are already losing their minds in the relative luxury of Penny’s Bay. Can you imagine how they’ll fare in Tsing Yi, when they start forcing people from their homes into these things, overcrowded, disorganized, and competing with the rest of the city scarce food and necessities?

    Regardless of the present COVID situation, I imagine these cells will serve as a good trial for the concentration camps that become the new home for future foreign and local political prisoners. Unless, of course, they just ignore capacity limits of existing facilities, and completely jam those with people who do not support the CCP-approved insanity du jour, whether it be their past release and cover-up of the Wuhan Flu, their present support of the Russian invasion into Ukraine, or their future invasion into Taiwan.

  10. Paul Tse, certified homo says:

    I am saving up all my empty wine bottles. The moment the most incompetent “government” in the Universe announces the “Lockdown”, I am going to smash all of them on the road in front of my little cottage. So there.

  11. Mary Melville says:

    So bringing in 1,000 ‘helpers’ with no experience at $30,000pm. What about all the out of work locals and new immigrants?
    Surely some of the folk SoCO rounds up for its regular hand out pleas could be, in fact should be, interested in these job ops. If I was hard up I certainly would be.

  12. Penny says:

    “Can you imagine how they’ll fare in Tsing Yi, when they start forcing people from their homes into these things, overcrowded, disorganized, and competing with the rest of the city scarce food and necessities?”
    Hell no, I won’t go! I forsee a lot of resistance – should play well in the international media as people are dragged from their doors kicking and screaming by the uniformed thugs.

  13. Pope Innocent says:

    @Paul Tse, you seem to have left out several key stages in manufacturing Molotov cocktails. Check with the Ukrainian government, they may be able to give you some pointers.

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