Maybe to end confusion, officials should admit they’re clueless

The Chief Secretary assures Hongkongers that they will have ample time for more panic-buying before lockdown. And a 4,000-strong HK Police ‘riot squad’ will help with the Covid mass-testing…

Although their exact duties had not yet been spelt out, a source said they might be assigned to escort infected patients to hospital or community isolation facilities, and enforce lockdowns in sites where residents had to stay at home until they were tested. 

We could read between the lines of these reports and conclude that the mass-testing exercise is indeed going to happen, and lockdowns will be on a district basis – but that would assume that officials actually have a fixed plan. 

By the time it goes ahead (if it does) a large percentage of the population (30%? 40%? 50%?) will have been infected. Compulsory universal testing will essentially be a hugely disruptive days-long census to determine which of two large groups – Covid-positive and Covid-negative – each resident falls into. While they are at it, maybe the examiners could also find out exactly how many of us are left-handed.

(There is some alarm over the fact that the Security Bureau will allocate patients to isolation facilities. This probably does not mean cops will do triage. Bureaus were given different Covid responsibilities at a Shenzhen meeting, presumably as a display of smooth governance by Hong Kong officials, and Security got the operation of the prison-like camps. Home Affairs, for example, got distribution of test kits.)

Even Mainland officials seem divided. The senior CCP guy rants about the correctness of zero-Covid as an ideology, while the health expert stresses more practical matters. 

Hongkongers seem to be drawing their own conclusions from the confusion and are devising anti- or ‘living with’ Covid strategies of their own. For example, small-businesses close for a few days if an employee is infected – but without government involvement, with its risk of kids being separated from parents or asymptomatic people being sent to quarantine camp. Some snippets from a discussion

Before I knew of ppl testing positive & self-isolating, but not informing authorities. Increasingly now seeing ppl just say “don’t know, don’t care” & not bothering to test. Even some who have tested positive … example is a pro-China Mainland friend who was very pro COVID zero & controls, but now sees everyone has it and thinks continued restrictions are pointless.

It’s also that people have now seen first hand people they know who have had Covid and are doing just fine with no severe symptoms and recovered comfortably at home. They finally realise living with Covid is possible and not malicious rumors by Western media.

Healthcare workers complain about how ‘zero dynamic etc’ diverts vital resources away from their facilities – and from genuinely sick patients. 

And the latest from Dr Owens…

Public health policy decisions in HK have increasingly been performative rather than substantive with very little, if any, grounding in science or evidence

Substance or performance?

– Universal PCR testing

– 21 day quarantine

– Airline bans

– Closing wet markets for deep cleaning

– Masks whilst running in country parks

– Taped children’s playgrounds + BBQ pits 

Persisting with the narrative around CUT is an example of science and performance pulling in different directions

Failure to pivot from PCR testing to RAT makes no sense

The pivot would transfer control to individuals. Educate, inform and incentivise +ve behaviour

(Interestingly, up at the ‘two meetings’ in Beijing, a Vice Premier asks whether Hong Kong private hospitals are ducking their Covid-related responsibilities. Covid aside, many, if not most, private hospitals are built on land granted by the government decades ago at little or no charge – the idea being that the institutions would serve the community. Today, they poach the underfunded public system’s manpower and cater mainly to wealthy patients needing undemanding treatment. Maybe, like the tycoons, they will have to do more to prove their loyalty in future.)

The weirdness goes on… My latest follower on Twitter is a company offering help to people who want visas for Hong Kong. Guess they have time to scroll through a timeline these days.

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13 Responses to Maybe to end confusion, officials should admit they’re clueless

  1. donkey says:

    “The pivot would transfer control to individuals.”

    I’ll just leave this here. This is the only reason that things remain as crazy as they are. As usual, the government of a Leninist bent makes decision that take away individual freedom, and then they pile on more limitations. At some point, they realise they cannot go back and reinstate those freedoms because people are understandably agitated. This is how regimes erode, by the way, they finally back themselves into so many corners that even though they think they have managed the situation, they have really put themselves on a ledge.
    We cannot let individuals have any control over their health, sanity, lives or movement. That would be the end of us!

  2. vilma says:

    Does mass testing= mass DNA taking ?

  3. Mark Bradley says:

    “My latest follower on Twitter is a company offering help to people who want visas for Hong Kong. Guess they have time to scroll through a timeline these days.”

    This twitter follower @HongKongVisas used to be an obnoxious blue ribbon who in particular enjoyed defending Regina Ip. Mysteriously, they’ve been much less vocal in their support of the authorities and their sycophants. The HK Visa business must be really slow now. Maybe time to get into the business of helping HK people leave instead?

  4. Chinese Netizen says:

    Mick Wallace eh? Thought it was Trump’s personal “physician” upon first glance.

  5. HK Visa Handjob says:

    Congrats on the new ‘follower’ … one of the nastiest and most vindictive anti-HK trolls around. Hope he’s enjoying the effect patriotic rule and dynamic zero clue governance are having on his business!

  6. charlie says:

    Reminder: Beijing greenlit Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Never forget. Never forgive.

  7. HKJC Irregular says:

    Loathsome troll HK Visa not only had the hots for Vag, he cheered the persecution of the pro-dem movement and now does the same for Putin’s murderous foray into Ukraine. The utter irony of him unpatriotically barracking the gov over the pandemic mess has been well noticed.
    A parasitical cross between a tankie and a spiv. Watch yer backs with that curr about.

  8. Knownot says:

    charlie –
    “Beijing greenlit Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

    I hope you’ve read this article, which our blogger linked to a few days ago:

    Putin had a reasonable case, that Nato’s eastward expansion was hostile to Russia. Putin never said there would be an invasion, and Xi came to believe, or chose to believe, that “the positioning of Russian troops already had Ukraine cornered, and the natural next step would be to bargain from a position of strength. It is simply inexplicable for the Chinese that Russia would launch a full invasion in Ukraine when it already had the upper hand.”

    Either Xi “greenlit” the invasion or, as the article suggests, he was “played”.

  9. Des Espoir says:

    If anyone has half-an-hour to spend, a very interesting speech and Q&A at the Oxford Union with Sir John Sawer, retired head of MI6 last week about Ukraine… very professional and knowledgeable, and also an interesting few side-points on China…. …… puts most political leaders to shame…

  10. Low Profile says:

    @Knownot – NATO’s main raison d’etre was always to defend Western Europe – and later, Central Europe as well – against Russian aggression. If the fall of the Soviet Union had led to a genuinely peaceful and democratic Russia, the country would by now be well on the way to EU membership and NATO would wither away. Instead, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has probably had the opposite effect, as fear of a similar fate to Ukraine’s is turning public opinion in once neutral states like Finland towards support for NATO membership – the law of unintended consequences at work.

  11. Vag on the rag says:

    On Saturday afternoon I was walking around Causeway Bay. So I ended up under the Canal Street flyover where the “villain hitting” witches usually hang out. Because of the Covid-19 mis-management charade, the old crones were not there that day. But the Gesta-popos were, standing idly around, stringing “police do not cross blah blah” tape.
    When I walked in there, a half dozen PTU randos crossed the street. I made it a point to make eye contact with a few of them, giving them a cold hard stare. And I noticed something remarkable. What did I see when I made eye contact? Fear! I read fear in their eyes. They were scared to be out there, amongst the people they are paid to suppress. Fear!!

  12. dimuendo says:

    Des Espoir

    Thank you for the link. As you say, very interesting.

  13. donkey says:

    I tend to believe that Xi wouldn’t have allowed an invasion of Ukraine, because it then exposed him to the potential of this happening in the western asian countries that were formerly occupied by the Russians. It wouldn’t have been in his calculus. Of course, many of those states are pro-Russia, maybe because they know the same thing would happen to them. In any case, Xi was played. And now Xi must side with Russia to make it look like they are the peacemaker, while extracting whatever reputation and power dynamics they can out of the negotiation to make their cause belli for Taiwan seem gentler, at the same time.

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