The Hong Kong government continues to grope and fumble its way to a decision on citywide lockdown and compulsory universal Covid testing. The latest signs are: the performance will last from March 26 to April 3; public transport will continue to operate, partly; essential workers (healthcare, stock exchange, etc) can go about their duties; and one designated shopper per household will be allowed out on some sort of roster to buy food.
This is, of course, just tentative – maybe someone will see sense and scrap the whole idea. But there are patriotic voices demanding a full-scale Wuhan-style population house-arrest. The Standard story has former Health Secretary Ko Wing-man at the ‘two meetings’ in Beijing apparently thinking it is still possible to nip the 5th wave in the bud. Regina Ip also staunchly sticks with the ‘zero dynamic etc’ ideology.
Meanwhile the overnight lockdowns (still taking place as if identifying and isolating individual cases will stop the spread of the disease now) provide more or less random samples of the population – suggesting that maybe 15% of residents are Covid-positive.
Nine days without leaving your 400 sq ft home, going for a walk, seeing friends, or letting your dog pee on fire hydrants. Nine days when riot police roam the streets ticketing anyone outdoors without a permit – special teams to clamp down on midnight joggers? And when the results are published, we find that, of the Hong Kong population, 33% have rickets, 33% obesity, 33% insanity, and 100% terribly need a haircut.
Your regular expats-fleeing-HK story – today from AP…
Over the last fortnight Hong Kong has looked more like New York or London at the start of the pandemic than a city which had two years of hard-won breathing room to get ready.