Let’s pretend we’re not moving away from China’s Zero-Covid policy while pretending we are!
Hong Kong reduces hotel quarantine for arrivals from seven days to three (by three we mean more like four), followed by four days’ isolation at home (by which we mean you can take public transport and go to the office, but not enter a restaurant), during which time you will have a ‘Yellow’ code.
So the ‘balance’ the government insists we strike shifts from around 70% stupid-30% common sense to 60%-40%, by which we mean 65%-35% when you look at the details. This is cause for joyous celebration. Not totally unwarranted in my case, as I am preparing for a long overdue trip to the free world and was not looking forward to a whole week in a hotel room afterwards.
Thus Hong Kong continues its tortuous (tortoise-like?) efforts to extricate itself from China’s zero-Covid policy without being too obvious about it, so the city still appears dedicated to the patriotic mission to crush the virus. We don’t know whether local officials are conning their Beijing counterparts in this, or (more likely) sympathetic Mainland overseers are smoothing things over with their superiors back home. Introduction of the health code tracking system – potentially a permanent social-control mechanism, or at least pain in the ass – is no doubt part of the deal.
As critics rush to point out, the 3+4 model will do nothing to bring tourists back. There’s always a bright side!
On the subject of common sense – an article by HKU experts a few weeks ago diplomatically but clearly outlining the reality of the health threat Covid now poses to Hong Kong. Essentially, we are moving to endemicity and should follow what Singapore does.
Alternatively, Chinese health workers swab freshly caught fishes’ mouths to test for Covid.