Another day of all-patriots government

From the Standard, pro-government landlord Allan Zeman

…wrote a letter to Lam and said there have been so many conflicting messages over the past few weeks in Hong Kong about the virus from experts which left the public being very confused and nervous, citing the recent panic buying.

…”We need clarity on what’s the way forward. If the experts do feel like it would peak at mid-March then let the government say it loudly and send the message so that people can relax.”

He also said that the public need words of encouragement from authorities because they are scared about their livelihood and future and feel they are getting punished for being infected.

(Update: full letter here.)

In the last 24 hours we have gone from ‘Lockdown in mid-March or no?’ to ‘definite lockdown from March 17’ to ‘lockdown at end March 26-April 3 (rumoured)’. God knows what it will be by lunchtime today. With this sort of leadership, panic-buying at supermarkets is quite rational.

We are told that keeping everyone at home is necessary to ‘facilitate testing’. But why is this so? Perhaps the real reason is that those uppity Hong Kong civil servants still wedded to Western thinking had deviated from Beijing’s correct path by saying a lockdown would not work for Hong Kong. Maybe Mainland officials are now intent on forcing millions of people to stay for days stuck in tiny homes just to prove that the local bureaucrats were wrong.

HKU’s Gabriel Leung says that, if used, compulsory universal PCR testing … 

…should be deployed mid- to late-April when case numbers will already be at very low levels in order to truly achieve elimination, or “zero covid”…

Doing so earlier, especially when case numbers will still be too high to properly and appropriately isolate and care for, paying particular attention to population mental and emotional wellbeing in HK’s unique context, would not be recommended.

Another thread gets Righteous Anger of the Day Award.

The authorities are still capable of being focused when they want: ex-Bar chair Paul Harris is questioned by NatSec Police. Has he left town already?

And a glimmer of hope: a Chinese expert is talking – quite nicely – of moving on from zero-Covid.

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18 Responses to Another day of all-patriots government

  1. Stanley Lieber says:

    If Mr. Hemlock permits, here is the text of Mr. Zeman’s letter to Mrs. Lam. It contains pointed criticisms that are underreported by The Standard and the SCMP.

    Dear Carrie,
    I know we are all going through a very difficult time and, to be quite honest, in all my years I have never had to face such a big problem. The community, both local and international, are very concerned and it has made me very concerned as well.

    The confusing messages which keep coming out on almost a daily basis from the so-called medical experts and Sophia are causing widespread panic in the community. I, myself, am very nervous and as you know we have worked together a long time and have been through many things together but this time I worry that we are doing real damage to HK society and to our economy. There are too many rumours floating around and such a feeling of uncertainty, we need very clear messaging giving people hope and direction for an end to this nightmare. People feel they are getting punished for being infected.

    People and businesses both need clarity instead of fear because the mental state of the majority, including so-called tycoons, is very worrisome. Unfortunately, HK is a very unique place as we have many sub-divided flats, nano flats, small living quarters with people living on top of one another. The people need some hope and a clear direction, and this can only come from the top. We are not the only city in the world that has had to face Omicron in the pandemic and in speaking to some of the medical advisers, their feeling is that it should peak in about 2 weeks and hopefully by middle to end April can be over. I have seen reports today that Mr. Liang Wannian, the expert from China, has arrived and said that ideally a lockdown during testing can work, but on the other hand, knowing the situation of HK flats, it may be difficult.

    The rumor floating around is that this is going to happen for 3 weeks, after you clearly assured everyone of no lockdown. Carrie, you understand the housing situation in HK and if we really want to protect what’s left of the lives of people and businesses, we need to consider something that can work and not frighten HK people. Community Universal Testing will likely result in hundreds of thousands of positive cases, for which we do not have the facilities to isolate. Most of the cases will likely be mild or asymptomatic as the vaccination rate is now very high. The biggest mission is how to protect the elderly and those ‘at risk’ members of the public. I know the idea is to isolate mild cases at home if the home is suitable. I think this must be stressed by the whole administration so that people can feel more comfortable.

    Another big problem is that so many families with children who have been here for many years are leaving HK because of fear that they will be separated from their child if he/she tests positive and must go to hospital. I have been assured by the HA that they now have agreement that this will not happen, but the damage has already been done as that headline went worldwide and showed HK to be highly unreasonable. The international reputation of HK is now very damaged, and I worry that ‘One Country Two Systems’ as we know it will disappear. A lot of talent has already left. I don’t think this is what President Xi wants as China needs an international HK and not just another city of 7M people. I am trying to do foreign media interviews to challenge these rumours but I am also worried. Please try to have you and your administration to keep coming out with very positive and competent messages so we can finally lift the mood of helplessness that exists at the moment. It would also be good to have someone charismatic from the administration to address the international community with a very positive note so to stem the current exodus of expats. Some good interviews in the English media will also go a long way to calm international community members who do not read Chinese. As you know I am always available if you need advice and want to talk. I value your opinion very much and hold you in very high regard.

    PS – So many members of the public and of the business community are in dire straits. Salaries have been cut, businesses have been cutting many staff in order to survive with the current restrictions. It would be essential to have an ESS scheme like we had in 2020 for those businesses in the ‘affected industries’ or for those that have been adversely impacted. I really think this will be a lifesaver and bring some smiles to ease the hardships of the employees in these businesses. The previous scheme was really important for keeping staff employed last time. Take care!

  2. Load Toad says:

    No leadership, no planning, no direction, panic, mixed messaging, no trust, no credibility, no accountability, taxpayers’ money pished away on stupid schemes, the population made the scapegoat for government arrogance and incompetence…and a CEO who makes things worse every time she opens her mouth.

    Yep, this Patriot’s Governing Hong Kong is a great improvement…

  3. donkey says:

    wait, do I like Alan Zeman now???? What is happening? Is this a symptom of Covid?

    In other news, so, I want to write this down in black and white so I can figure this out. I want to be sure I understand.

    1. We need to test EVERYONE to make sure that we get all the cases
    2. So we need to push back the testing dates so that more people get it, but if that’s not enough, we can always just bicker about it and float rumours in the press to let the people know that we are definitely working on the problem.
    3. Sorry what’s the problem again?
    4. Oh, elderly people are dying of Covid.
    5. Right, so let’s drag out the testing regime further, maybe till mid April, because that way most people will have caught it, and most of the elderly who would die, have died. Right?
    6. Right, go on.
    7. Right so, in case that’s confusing for everyone, we can force them to test, but then they should just stay in their homes, except for some cases that we will arbitrarily determine should not stay at home, and then they need to stay in shared, communual facilities, so that in case someone is in quarantine and not getting it yet, they might by sharing the same facilities.
    8. Okay, sure, go on. What else?
    9. So, then let’s put as many people into lockdown as possible, and test them all, even though we know that testing will reveal that most people have already gotten it.
    10. And?
    11. Oh, but don’t you see? We can keep the borders with the western world closed so that no colour revolutions will start as we get ready to take Taiwan!
    12. Brilliant!

  4. cnutlicker says:

    My favorite thing about all of this is that Lam and Regina Ip and that state gestapo security cunt John Lee have taken EVERY chance to publicly gloat about how much more peaceful and stable Hong Kong has become by being managed by central government.
    And they are doing a bang up job and so right they are.

    proof again that communism and leninist fascism is a brilliant idea until you actually deal with it in reality. morons!

  5. Mary Melville says:

    The real message of the Z letter is in the PS. Bring back ESS.
    In case anyone has forgotten, this is the scheme that allotted millions to ‘deserving’ firms like the supermarket operators, who cannot keep their shelves full for 5 minutes, HKT and other telecom providers that profited from the increase in online activity, real estate companies that have been creaming it in recently, etc etc.
    Unfortunately because we now have no free media, there have been no follow up reports on how many recipients reneged on their commitment to retain employees.

  6. Hamantha says:

    @Stanley Lieber

    I loved The Human Toad’s postscript to his open letter. Unless I misunderstood, it basically reads, “hand industry — especially my bar and restaurant industry!! — another metric ton of cash, just like in the good old days of 2020.”

    /Also funny how he mentions that he portrays a sense of great confidence in Hong Kong’s future when doing media interviews, but secretly harbors a growing sense of doubt and uncertainty.

  7. Red Dragon says:

    Zeman, as one would expect, comes across as barely literate, but makes some valid criticisms of the “authorities” to whom he usually toadies.

    Ip, also as one would expect, just comes across as a cunt.

  8. Quentin Quarantino says:

    I love the part where Al proposes that people with spacious homes (the rich) should self-isolate at home while people who live in cramped quarters (the poor) should be marched off to a “concentration facility”.

  9. A Poor Man says:

    I am happy to hear that Vagina Yip Will Suk Yee can afford to go to private hospitals.

    PS – Boycott Lan Kwai Fong, or at least buy your beer from one of the nearby 7-11s.

  10. justsayin says:

    Broom Head, being a ‘heavyweight’, gets an expensive private room at the sanatorium . I’d say an asylum is more what she needs but with the way things are going in HK these days I’d say there’d be little difference inside and outside.

  11. Knownot says:

    “Zeman, as one would expect, comes across as barely literate”

    The most noticeable wording that’s not quite right is this:
    “Please try to have you and your administration to keep coming out with very positive and competent messages”

    Those words could have been written by a Chinese with good English. Perhaps Zeman has spent too much time talking with such people.

    One sometimes hears long-resident westerners speaking the year in the Chinese way:
    not “twenty twenty-two” but “two-o-two-two”.

  12. Ensure Scoundrels Administering Hong Kong says:

    Re the righteous anger thread:
    All you really need to know about the new patriots-only HK government is contained in the hospital crisis: where they put the live covid patients outside in the car park, but keep the corpses inside in the ER (and all because IIRC the morgues, the ICUs and the ER are at 90% capacity — AKA “not full”).
    And while they’re spending a fortune to make thousands of sick people live in custom-built shipping containers in Tsing Yi for weeks on end instead of just sending them home, no one’s had the nouse to think of putting the “overflowing” dead bodies into bog standard rentable refrigerated shipping containers.

  13. Low Profile says:

    Zeman’s letter, bar the obviously begging postscript and the toadying sentence immediately preceding it, is for the most part surprisingly sensible, but good luck to him in finding “someone charismatic from the administration” – that is an extinct species, I’m afraid.

  14. Ben says:

    It’s a misconception that the lockdown is needed to facilitate mass testing. It’s actually needed more to facilitate contact tracing. By the time cases are found and confirmed, they have often already passed on infection to their close contacts, and we know that quarantine of close contacts is like creating a firebreak in the transmission chain.

    In a mainland-style lockdown and mass testing exercise, the main advantage of the lockdown is keeping contact tracing as simple as possible. In a lockdown, the close contacts would typically be just the other household members, perhaps sometimes the entire residential building if there’s considered to be a risk of within-building spread.

    If mass testing is done without a lockdown, by the time cases are identified and isolated they may already have passed on infection to complete strangers in the community, on public transport, in a restaurant, or wherever, and we’ve already seen in early January that contact tracing in the community can’t keep up with Omicron, even when “contacts of contacts” are also traced and quarantined.

    There are many questioning the feasibility and sustainability of a stringent lockdown in Hong Kong, for a number of different reasons. I would say a bigger question relates to the cost/benefit assessment of the measures required to achieve the aim of getting back to zero daily cases in a community that is no longer seriously threatened by COVID after this wave is over (because most people in the city will have immunity following infection, and most also have multiple vaccinations). A worst case scenario for the city could be: after 10+ cycles (or even 20+ cycles…) of mass testing and prolonged lockdown, we finally achieve a couple of weeks of zero daily cases at some point this summer, and then we turn on the news and hear an announcement that mainland China are going to transition to “living with COVID” ?

  15. Joe Blow says:

    @Poor Man, you are my man!!

    “PS – Boycott Lan Kwai Fong, or at least buy your beer from one of the nearby 7-11s.”

    Alas, LKF is now deader than Al’s shriveled 76 y.o. dick.

    When the lights start blinking again in Central this summer, I suggest y’all go to Peel Street or Wyndham or Soho, or SYP.

  16. Just following orders says:

    Patriots Only Government Officials … Mmmmm, POGOs?

    Might have its uses:

    Carrie Lam and her POGO administration …

    HK was doing fine but then Carrie and the Commies POGOed it.

    For the HK police special atrocities unit: GESTAPGO etc. etc.

  17. Guest says:

    @Quentin Quarantino: in that case, Regina Ip, whose home is presumably big, will never have to experience the hospitality of a quarantine camp. That makes her tweet meaningless.

    I bet her toilet at the Hong Kong Sanatorium wasn’t a hole in the floor.

  18. Chris says:

    @Ensure Scoundrels – brilliant observation.

    Zooming out – an even more scathing assessment of the PR disasters from up north…

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