Dai Qingcheng: Will Hong Kong be locked down?
The fifth wave of COVID-19 caused by Omicron in Hong Kong shows no signs of abating, but is getting worse.With the number of confirmed cases increasing exponentially day after day, wards in many public hospitals have been overwhelmed and the public health system in Hong Kong is on the verge of collapse.Hong Kong’s public health system is on the verge of collapse as the epidemic worsens.Local kindergartens, primary and secondary schools continue to suspend face-to-face classes and school activities.A man called the Department of Health to complain that his domestic helper had tested positive in a rapid test. He went to the emergency department of a hospital for further treatment, but the emergency department told his helper to go home and wait for the result.Angry, the man called the Department of Health’s hotline to ask how to ensure that his family was not infected.But the department of Health’s hotline has been disconnected;When the phone finally got through, the staff who answered the phone could not answer the man’s questions, but repeated the government’s appeal.The man’s two young girls were later infected.There was a time when Hong Kong’s civil service was recognized as one of the most efficient and dynamic in the world.However, since the outbreak of the epidemic, many civil servants “only know how to execute orders, but do not know how to run the country”, and their performance has been questioned by the outside world.The above cases can be said to be everywhere.It is worth noting that some civil servants in Hong Kong acted bureaucratically in accordance with the rules in the face of the epidemic, which just reflects the government’s lacklustre attitude in fighting the epidemic over the past two years.After the outbreak of the epidemic in Hong Kong in 2020, many enterprises have developed a series of response mechanisms, but the Hong Kong government has been lacking in response plans.Only when the epidemic was severe, stricter quarantine measures were taken, which delayed the time and failed to contain the virus effectively.Late last month, the Chief Executive Carrie Lam visited yee Kwai House in Kwai Chung Estate to inspect the anti-epidemic situation.As news clips showed, chief Secretary for Administration Li Ka-chiu was criticised by politicians for accompanying Mr Lam on the visit.Many have questioned the need for senior officials in a region to avoid being present at the same event during a tense state of war, such as a natural disaster or major change, so that when the “no. 1” is absent, the “no. 2” takes charge.The small detail that the number one and number two officials of the Hong Kong government still went to the “disaster area” together during the high risk period of the epidemic reflects the high level of the Hong Kong government, which still seems to have optimistic illusions about the epidemic, so it is not ready to take action.Because the authorities are late, many of Hong Kong’s measures are often approved only after the executive Council meets on Tuesdays, often falling behind the epidemic, making the fifth wave worse.In this room, many patients have stayed at home for several days but have not been sent to hospital.On the other side, the Hong Kong government failed to cope with the huge amount of testing, testing centers in the district long lines, public complaints everywhere.The government’s failure to cope with the huge volume of tests has led to long queues at testing centres across Hong Kong and widespread complaints.(Bloomberg) As the epidemic continues to worsen, some Hong Kong residents have recently begun to “lie down” and “live with the virus.”But on the other hand, there are more and more powerful voices calling for “lockdown” strong inspection.Leung Chk-wai, dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, recently suggested that the government consider a lockdown because, according to the institute’s calculations, such a lockdown could reduce the transmission rate by 85 percent.As a matter of fact, in the early days of the epidemic two years ago, cities around the world were already locked down to varying degrees, and A similar measure was proposed in Hong Kong at that time.But the authorities flatly rejected the proposal, saying it was not feasible to require all Hong Kong residents to be grounded because of the city’s cramped living conditions.With the outbreak of a new wave of COVID-19, the call for “lockdown” has been raised again recently.Some academics and establishment figures have called on the government to select a few days for mandatory testing of citizens, and to ask them to stay indoors during this period, and to suspend business operations.The epidemic is out of control in Hong Kong. The daily number of more than 1,000 confirmed cases has overwhelmed hospitals and isolation facilities, and there are many patients in the community who cannot be treated in time.Even if the epidemic prevention measures are increased, it may not be able to contain the immediate transmission rate. It is up to more stringent measures of “lockdown” to control the outbreak.Second, if Hong Kong were to implement the lockdown, the economic costs would undoubtedly be huge.But Hong Kong has launched six rounds of epidemic relief funds in the past two years, draining its more than HK $1 trillion reserves.It is better to shut down the city for a few days than to endure the pain for years.Unfortunately, the thinking at the top of the Hong Kong government is still “last-minute”.After meeting with mainland Chinese officials last week and being informed of Beijing’s support for Hong Kong, Mr Li stressed that the government had no plans at this stage to shut down the city.In other words, the authorities do not seem to have prepared for the worst, and have worked out the details of the implementation of the “lockdown” and “mandatory nationwide testing”.In a meeting with mainland Chinese officials last week, Mr Li stressed there were no plans to lock down the city at this stage after being informed of Beijing’s support for Hong Kong.(China News Service) Ironically, as the number of confirmed cases increases day by day, many Hong Kong people are hoarding grain in advance to prepare for the lockdown.Photos posted on social networking groups showed shelves being emptied in recent days.Yesterday noon I also went to the supermarket to buy things to “store grain against hunger”, found that the supermarket is still a long queue, rice, pasta and other goods have been snapped up.Even the shelves selling fruits and vegetables, frozen foods and so on are scattered.To be sure, Hong Kong does face many difficulties in implementing the lockdown in reality.However, in the event of emergency, the Hong Kong Government should also be prepared to take all measures, including the lockdown, into its anti-epidemic strategy.Unfortunately, the current SAR government, which is dominated by civil servants, seems to have less awareness of “advance deployment” than ordinary people.This means that Hong Kong will not be locked down in the short term, and Hong Kong people will have to “live with the virus” for a long time.