Sunday, February 27, 2022

Covid records breaking in Hong Kong, and many people's hearts too

Queue outside a community testing centre
Hong Kong registered another record number day of new coronavirus cases today.  I know I'm repeating myself again but I still feel obliged to point it out all the same: this particularly since the numbers have gotten so high so fast that they're almost hard to believe.  
For the record: Hong Kong saw 26,026 new Covid cases today (of which only six were imported).  Remember those days not so long ago of not only zero new cases but also when the number of imported cases would far exceed local ones?  They can seem like but a dream now, and these days of new daily case numbers that are have reached five figures like a sad nightmare.
Similarly, it wasn't all that long ago too when the only people I personally knew who had Covid were those who lived abroad.  To date, the United States of America is the country where I've had the most friends come down with Covid (including one who told me that she lost her sense of taste and smell for three months!).  Other territories where I know people who caught Covid include Malaysia (one of whom ended up dying from it) and France (involving a family of three, whose young unvaccinated son suffered more from being infected than his "boosted" parents). 

Yesterday afternoon, a friend living here in Hong Kong messaged me to say that she had come down with a fever and suspected that she been infected by the coronavirus.  And after she took a rapid antigen test (RAT) (kits of which are the latest "must have" in town), the results were indeed positive.  
Earlier today, she messaged again to tell me that her fever had broke but that she was feeling on the tired side.  I hope that fever and fatigue will be the extent of her symptoms.  And the chances that this will be so is helped by her being double (though not triple) vaxxed with the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine, not being elderly in age and not having any serious pre-existing medical conditions.    
Spare a thought though for those who are not, and have succumbed to the coronavirus -- whose numbers have dramatically increased in recent days and weeks too along with that of new cases.  For the record: Hong Kong reported 83 new deaths today alone; bringing the total number of confirmed Covid deaths in Hong Kong up to 717.  

As Oiwan Lam noted a week ago, "Unlike... western countries which mobilized and prioritized the elderly to be vaccinated, Hong Kong has taken a coercive approach on the city’s working force and students to boost the vaccination rates. Even after the Omicron outbreak, only around 40 percent of those aged above 80-year-old had received at least one dose."  In addition:"We all know that the elderly are the most vulnerable group in Hong Kong but their vaccination rate has remained low and the majority of them have chosen Sinovac rather than BioNTech. This is due to the failure in public communication and proactive policy targeting at vulnerable groups."
I don't think it can be emphasized how big an advantage the vaccinated have vis a vis the unvaccinated with regards to their bodies being able to deal with the coronavirus.  As evidence: data released today on the first 284 Covid related deaths in Hong Kong's fifth wave showed that 91% of them had not been fully vaccinated (meaning that they had not been vaccinated at all or just received one jab rather than the two or even three that some of us have had).  
With this kind of information it hand, the continued offering of Sinovac vaccines in Hong Kong can only be seen as a political decision rather than a sound medical one.  And, actually, it's pretty clear that much, if not all, of Hong Kong's pandemic response has been informed far more by politics than science.  
The fifth wave has laid bare why doing so is so wrong.  It's not just the shocking case numbers and rising fatalities.  It's also such as the misery that has been heaped on Hong Kongers by way of such as multiple "ambush lockdowns" (notably the multi-day ones over at Kwai Chung that caused at least one death), crazy long lines of people taking part in mandatory testing and quarantine stays at Penny's Bay that have resulted in suicide attempts.  The latest heart-breaking horror, reported today, involves morgues that are near capacity.  What next?  I shudder to think.  Truly.  :( 

Friday, February 25, 2022

Stand with Ukraine but please also consider the plight of the political prisoners in Covid-ravaged Hong Kong!

I usually focus on Hong Kong matters these days but it's impossible to ignore what's happening in Ukraine.  The member of the Hong Kong Twitterati who goes by K spoke for many of us when he Tweeted the following: "Look, as a HKer living in relative tranquility compared to what's happening in Ukraine right now, we are by no means well versed in war or much of anything else. What we are well versed in however, is recognizing and living under psychotic tyrants ruining everything."  Which is why it's makes sense that many Hong Kongers inevitably will side and stand with Ukraine.   
Speaking of not waiting: it's not only time that waits for no man but also the Wuhan coronavirus.  And for all of the likes of Carrie Lam talking about Hong Kong being currently being in a war footing against the coronavirus, the Hong Kong government has been waging a battle against Covid in a way that clearly shows it to have been ill prepared as well as ill equipped to deal with this fifth wave.  
Thus it is that Covid is clearly running rampant and spreading all over Hong Kong.  And today has been another record breaking day: with today's number of new confirmed cases soaring past the 10,000 mark and the overall number of new cases (which covers both preliminary positive and confirmed cases) being a whopping 21,979!  And if that weren't already bad, throw in the fact that Hong Kong reported 59 Covid deaths (47 new; 12 backlogged) today.  Also, in view of there being 51 people infected with Covid who were in a critical condition and 48 in seriously ill condition as of last night: I hate to say this but it's pretty much guaranteed that there will be more deaths to report tomorrow and a number of days afterwards.
Among the sections of Hong Kong that Covid is now raging in: the prisons, where more than 7,200 people are currently detained; among whom are hundreds of political prisoners.  As per an AFP report: "As of Thursday [i.e. yesterday], there were 202 confirmed infections and 135 preliminary positive prisoners within the system — a caseload that has grown by more than 20 times in about a week."  And in the words of prisons official: "It is anticipated that more cases of infection will be found in the coming week". 
So much for the measures the government sought to take to stop Covid from enterting the system; including ones that involved the suspension of visits by family and friends of prisoners that were just one more pleasure and contact with the outside world denied to prisoners (who, lest we forget, include the likes of Jimmy Lai, Joshua Wong, Chow Hang-tung, Lee Cheuk-yan, Claudia Mo, Gwyneth Ho, Jimmy Sham and so many more; many of whom haven't even been convicted of crimes but already behind bars for many months after being denied bail after being arrested and charged with National Security Law crimes).  

On a "thank goodness for small mercies" note: Fernando Cheung is no longer among Hong Kong's political prisoners as the pro-democrat was released from prison yesterday morning.  Compared to so many of his political allies and ex-Legislative Council colleagues (like, say, Claudia Mo and also Wu Chi-wai, Lam Cheuk-ting and Jeremy Tam), Cheung's three weeks behind bars (for contempt in connection with a protest he staged with fellow democrats in the Legislative Council chamber in May 2020) can seem like a breeze.

But on his release from jail, the 65 year old told reporters that "his life behind bars was “tough,” as he was separated from his family".  Still, rather than put the focus on himself, "Cheung called on the authorities to make arrangements for inmates who saw their time in custody being extended after the Covid-19 pandemic delayed their court appearances. He also urged people not to forget his “friends” and other Hongkongers who are still in detention."  And I, for one, would like to echo and do what I can to amplify his call.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Enjoying a socially distanced hike without a mask for what may be the last time in a long while! (Photo-essay)

There was much to be angry about in Hong Kong again yesterday.  I don't think I need to go into details as more than one blogger out there has already done so (see here and here for examples).  And there's much to be angry about some more in Hong Kong today (see here, here, here and here, among others).  Oh, and of course Hong Kong had another day of record new Covid cases -- up to 8,674 today, and 24 more deaths.
On the (literally) brighter side: the sun came out and it stopped raining for the first time in days today.  So I went off for another hike in Tai Tam Country Park.  And like with last week's in the same country park (albeit along different sections of trail for the most part), I spotted lots of Chinese New Year Flowers and nine different wild boar on my hike!  
And for those who didn't realize: yes, I love hiking in Hong Kong; where I can get away from much of humanity for a few hours as well as get into nature.  So it really does seem very stupid, bordering on irrational and insane, for the Hong Kong government to require that, beginning from midnight tonight, people will need to wear masks while out (hiking) in the country parks; and this especially when people also already are required to socially distance by, among other things, not being in groups larger than two people in public!   
Lots of people and buildings in the city below...
Out on the hiking trail: far less so!
nope, there really aren't that many people at all in the area!
Even the sections of the popular Wilson Trail that I was on
this afternoon, it was very easy to socially distance!
Honestly, wearing a mask while hiking out here
with no one in sight seems like madness!
Some pretty (and still in bloom) Chinese New Year Flowers
to chase the blues away!
Speaking of chase: I spotted a young boy and his mother
round a bend surprisingly quickly -- then realized why
when four wild boar appeared a few seconds later! :D
One more wild boar pic: BTW, I think they have lovely eyes! :)

Monday, February 21, 2022

Everyone in Hong Kong is angry, and justifiably so!

Bulbuls looking distinctly cold and windblown
on a gray winter's day in Hong Kong
Hong Kong registered another record number day of new coronavirus cases today -- and in so doing, saw those numbers break through the 7,000 mark to hit 7,533 cases (of which only 3 were imported ones).  In addition, 16 new Covid deaths were reported -- one of whom was that of Hong Kong's youngest Covid victim ever: a babe who was just 11 months old.  Another unhappy mark passed: Hong Kong's total number of Covid deaths (321) has now surpassed the total number of SARS deaths (299).  In fact, Hong Kong's Covid death toll surpassed that of SARS yesterday.   

With Hong Kong reeling from these unprecedented numbers, it's really not assuring to feel that the authorities appear to be buckling under pressure.  Some examples: at yesterday's press conference, the Hospital Authority (HA)'s Dr Sarah Ho did not provide exact information as to how many serious Covid cases there were while the Centre of Health Protection (CHP)'s Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan declined to reveal the number of preliminary positive cases found.  And, in all honesty, I'm not sure which is more disconcerting: the thought that they are unwilling or unable to do so!
In addition, you know that the Hong Kong government has really messed up when not only is it safe to say that everyone in Hong Kong is angry at what's going on but you also have pro-Beijing media start criticizing them in front page headlines.  And that's what been happening in recent days, with: yesterday's Oriental Daily having a headline stating that "Hong Kongers suffer, officials hide" and cartoon depicting government officials sporting execution orders on their backs; and today's edition of the same newspaper continuing to trumpet that the authorities are "useless against the pandemic, causing the suffering of many".  
And yes, one's blood help boiling and blood pressure go up upon seeing the measures being thought up by the Hong Kong government.  Consider, for example, how many people have had to wait how many hours in long lines and in the cold rain on Saturday, yesterday and today (and continuing until tomorrow and beyond, with cold, wet weather predicted for Hong Kong for at least another couple of days) for mandatory Covid testing.  And behold the horror of the "community isolation facility" newly constructed to house those who tested Covid positive but have no or just mild symptoms that looks even more nightmarish than the infamous quarantine facilities at Penny's Bay.  
And their "allies" really are not much better.  I previously praised some Mainland Chinese representatives but now am going back to being critical of them -- specifically, with regards to their donating 150,000 boxes of "anti-epidemic traditional Chinese herbal meds" (which, to make things worse, has been accepted with thanks by a senior Hong Kong government official rather than exposed as quackery!).  
Then there's the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) deciding to take a leaf from Britain's  "Clap for our Carers" campaign and get Hong Kongers to clap for "to gather energy for the medical workers".  Okay, I'm not a medical staffer myself but I'm still pretty sure that Hong Kong's frontline medical workers would prefer people to help them deal with the coronavirus (including by going and getting vaccinated with the BioNTech vaccine) and not further overload hospitals (and thereby causing patients to die as a result of triage failure). 

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Another cold and high Covid numbers February day in Hong Kong

One of a number of Covid vaccination centers in Hong Kong (I know 
it says Sport Centre but it's function has been temporarily changed)

Also released this afternoon was the information that of all bar six of the first 46 deaths in Hong Kong's fifth Coronavirus wave involved unvaccinated individuals.  Which gets one wondering why the Hong Kong government, even now, doesn't seem to be pushing vaccination all that hard and the media is not disseminating this kind of information more.
Speaking of the provision of relevant information about vaccines and the Wuhan coronavirus in general: many people in Hong Kong are finding themselves wishing that the Hong Kong government could emulate Singapore's and produce clearer and more helpful information on official websites and such.  But I suppose this would mean the Hong Kong government getting its priorities straight and, well, what hope is there when, rather than acknowledging that they have played a significant part in causing -- or at least, exacerbating -- this fifth wave, they keep on looking to pin the blame on others, notably foreign domestic workers (the majority of whom hail from the Philippines and Indonesia).   
After it transpired that all 17 tickets handed out by the police last Sunday for breaches of the "2 person gathering limit" were to foreign domestic workers (whose monthly salary is about the same as the sum of the fine), Hong Kongers set up a fund to help them which raised over HK$78,000 in a matter of days.  But good news turned into bad after Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong announced that he was "not sure if [the] crowdfunding to help pay [foreign domestic workers'] fines is "trying to help people with good intentions", or maliciously undermining the entire epidemic prevention work" and he was "[s]eeking advice on whether legal action can be taken to stop [the fundraising effors]"; and took a turn for the worse when the spooked fund organizers (which had ended up raising over HK$107,000) decided to stop their fundraising efforts and return all the donations to the donors
Speaking of people sleeping outdoors: at least most of the hospital patients reduced to sleeping (or just waiting for treatment, for that matter) outdoors have been moved indoors as of today in Hong Kong.  And about time too, since it's now on the distinctly chilly side -- and will be for the next few days -- as a cold front sweeps in.  Thank goodness for small mercies?  Only, this is Hong Kong and, truly, such a situation should not have come about in the first place!   
The opening sentences from a Reuters article today is worth reading and pondering: "Hong Kong until recently had an enviable record battling Covid-19, but as an Omicron wave now overwhelms the city, the steps that saved lives are making life unbearable for many of its 7.4 million people. Like an immune system overreacting and harming the person it is meant to protect, the "dynamic zero-Covid" policies that had crushed the virus in Hong Kong have contributed to current woes, experts say" (my emphasis).  And consider how battered Hong Kongers are when this overreacting and now harmful immune system analogy is one "that also applies to the city’s “national security” policy."

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Pandemic records keep on getting broken in Hong Kong, and the hearts of many Hong Kongers too :(

Seen on a wall back in November 2014 but even truer now
Hong Kong's Covid records keep on tumbling and the actual numbers keep on soaring to heights that are super shocking for those of us who have been used to seeing way lower ones until recently.  4,285 new cases reported were yesterday, all but 21 local transmissions, and nine deaths, including that of a 3-year-old girl and 100-year-old woman.  (The 3-year-old girl actually passed away on Tuesday evening but her death was included in the tally given out by the authorities yesterday.)  And these records lasted just a day as today's new case numbers totalled an eye-opening 6,116 (of which only 9 were imported) and news also came of 24 more deaths from the Wuhan coronavirus  (15 of them in the past 24 hours; 9 of which were tabulated only in the past 24 hours.)  

The scary thing is that we know that the worst is yet to come as, among other things, Hong Kong has another 6,300 preliminary positive cases today and there are more than 10 Covid patients currently in critical condition along with a further 60 plus in serious condition.  Also, consider that Dr Siddharth Sridhar, a clinical virologist who has worked in healthcare in Hong Kong for over a decade, was moved to openly proclaim yesterday that "Now, with a disease that is more transmissible/severe than flu, AND requires exposed staff to quarantine, HK’s hospitals are sandcastles in a tsunami".
Cue major outpourings of anger and shame on the part of a good number of Hong Kongers, and justifiably so (for e.g., go here and here).  And for the record: it's been rainy for much of today and due to be tomorrow.  Worse, "Between 6pm this Saturday (February 19th) and 10am Tuesday (February 22nd) [the Hong Kong Observatory] does not forecast the temperature anywhere in Hong Kong to rise above 12° [Celsius]" (which is pretty cold by Hong Kong standards). 

And what suggestions or moves have the "patriots only" legislative councillors and other pro-Beijingers come up with in terms of suggestions to improve or remedy the dire situation?  A sample that shows how absolutely ridiculous their thinking is:  "1. Get fresh food by airdrops "like West Berlin did"[;] 2. Disguise mobile vaccination stations as [ice cream] trucks to be appealing for kid[s; and] 3. Stop domestic helpers from leaving employers' place on their day off".  

A good idea of how upset people are can be seen by their no longer being inclined to laugh at these idiots as well as the absurdity of it all.  Instead, people are really just feeling very upset and appalled.  We are talking after all of Hong Kong now having heartbroken nurses describing hospitals as akin to "refugee camps" and giving accounts of medics having to give up on patients, seeing Hong Kong's medical system crumbling before their very eyes, and people dying too.

Consider also the following account by David Chan, an emergency room nurse who is also the acting president of Hong Kong's Hospital Authority Employees Alliance: "Some of my colleagues say we are now in battlefield mode," he told reporters from AFP.  Talking about the early days of the pandemic and now, he observed that, "Back then, we did not know the virus well and we were short of equipment"; but "Two years on, we expected the Hospital Authority to have better plans -- but there turned out to be none." :(

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Looking for positives -- and finding Chinese New Year Flowers and wild boar -- on a hike on the 15th day of the New Year of the Tiger (Photo-essay)

On the positive side -- and I realize that it's scant consolation for many (but it really can psychologically help some) -- the weather's been lovely today and for some weeks now: ideal for hiking, in fact; which is one reason why I've done a good deal of hiking in recent weeks (see here and here).  Another reason, of course, is that I find hiking to be a great way to relieve stress and release tension.  
So off I went on yet another hike this afternoon.  Actually, today's primary reason for going hiking was to try to get in some Chinese New Year Flower sightings before the end of this latest 15-day Chinese New Year period -- and not only was I successful in doing so but I am happy to report that I also managed to get in spottings of nine -- yes, NINE -- wild boar while out this afternoon in Tai Tam Country Park!  Re the latter: I heard from a friend that there had been more wild boar killings by the authorities just yesterday.  So it was good to see that there still appear to be a good number of these creatures -- who, I can attest, are not all that prone to attack humans but, rather, inclined to just walk past them -- around in the wilds of Hong Kong still.  
The first Chinese New Year Flowers I spotted on today's hike,
-- and in the New Year of the Tiger, in fact!
Another stunning bunch of flowers spotted today --
those of the ivory coral tree

Panoramic view from near the view compass atop Braemar Hill
(click on the image to view an enlarged version of it!)
Mid afternoon sun peaking through the trees (and 
warming me enough that I was sweating a bit)

The first wild boar I spotted of the hike, and in 2022!
The wild boar turned out to be a mom, with two young 'uns 
in tow -- but none of them wanted any trouble
(and ditto the humans that it passed by)
Close-up shot of more Chinese New Year Flowers spotted today :)
Three more wild boar spotted -- again, what appeared to be a trio consisting 
of a mother and two children (In this case, they appeared to be 
relaxing together -- with one kid massaing the mother with its snout!)

Sunday, February 13, 2022

A week that's been on the overwhelming side, thanks in no small part to Hong Kong's fifth coronavirus wave proving to be the biggest by far

A rare moment of mental peace and calm
during a crazy week in and for Hong Kong
This week has been on the overwhelming side, thanks in no small part to a fifth coronavirus wave having hit Hong Kong in earnest and the problems this has caused having been exacerbated by the Hong Kong's government lack of preparation to deal with it.  After a streak of close to seven months of zero local cases being reported daily ending on the last day of 2021, we're now at the point when we breath a sigh of relief that today's Covid numbers involve "only" 1,347 new cases because we were hearing reports earlier in the day that more than 3,000 preliminary positive cases were found yesterday.   

Looking back at 2021, particularly that period of close to seven months without zero new local cases, it's impossible to think that the Hong Kong government missed several tricks there.  Among other things, its reluctance to loosen way more social distancing rules than it did contributed quite a bit to pandemic fatigue on the part of many Hong Kongers -- who, especially after learning about Partygate and being put through hamstergeddon, have become even more upset by the authorities than they already were.  And in the first few days of the Year of the Tiger, it is impossible to not "get" how angry people are and, also, indignant about the lack of competence being shown by Hong Kong's powers that be.

The following are just a few of the choice comments and critiques I've read (and heard) in recent days: "De facto martial law under harsh restrictions[.] Who pities the Hong Kong people[?]" (a translation of a headline that appeared in the pro-Beijing Oriental Daily on February 10th!); "It is mildly amusing to see the blue ribbons and those "apolitical" people in HK gradually realizing they have an incompetent government amid the pandemic. 針唔拮到肉唔知痛 " (a Tweet by *Redacted*);  and"FUN FACT:
Among the responses to Keith Richburg's Tweet was the following: "IMO left to our own devices I think we could have been a lot better prepared, but we've been hamstrung by a govt that has to do whatever Beijing tells it to do, regardless of local realities or science."   And when I see voices of reason among medical and scientific experts in Hong Kong who are not part of the government (among them epidemiologist Ben Cowling, medical doctor David Owens and virologist Leo Poon along with a hospital staffer and RNA virologist who have use pseudonyms on Twitter but whose expertise clearly comes through), I must concur. 
Speaking of begging the Mainland authorities for help: This thought sent shivers down many spines and caused many people to fear that the whole of Hong Kong would get locked down like Wuhan, Xian and other cities in China; this especially as this was what some Hong Kong medical experts were actually urging that this action be taken!  There thus were several sighs of relief when, after Hong Kong government officials (led by Chief Secretary -- and former security chief -- John Lee) met with Mainland Chinese officials on Saturday, it was announced that "The government on Saturday said it has no plans at this stage for a citywide lockdown"... though the "at this stage" part of the statement is not obviously not completely assuring.  

It seems counterintuitive and probably isn't very "scientific".  In fact, it's showing up how unneccessary many of the restrictions were -- and how the priority of the Hong Kong for so much of this pandemic has been to control and/or monitor people rather than the coronavirus.  As Bloomberg's Matthew Brooker was prompted to Tweet on February 12th: "Even now, the political project of turning Hong Kong into a totalitarian surveillance society of neighbourhood snitches takes precedence over raising the vaccination rate".

Earlier today, Dr David Owens Tweeted the following: "We have good evidence that frightening people is not effective in the long term."  This was part of a thread of his on Hong Kong's Covid strategy but in, in truth, I think it is applicable to governance in general, in Hong Kong along with the rest of the world! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Hong Konger misery -- thanks to the the Wuhan coronavirus but also the local authorities!

We're barely a week into the Year of the Tiger and already, we have a candidate for one of the worst days of the year.  Yesterday was so full of bad news that I found myself doomscrolling on Twitter for hours on end and not venturing out of my apartment because time doesn't only fly when you're having fun but, also, when you're upset and feel beset by bad news.

First up, in the morning, was the news that Samuel Bickett's High Court appeal had been rejected and he was immediately sent back to prison to serve the rest of his jail sentence.  So prepared was the Hong Kong American lawyer -- whose Good Samaritan act of going to the rescue of a young man being pursued and attacked by two other fellows (one of whom turned out to be a plainclothes cop) back in 2019 has been penalized rather than rewarded -- for Judge Esther Toh's verdict that he prepared a statement and Tweet in advance about it and Judge Toh's previous problematic comments.  
Still expecting a verdict to go against him doesn't mean one isn't upset when it actually happens.  Also, while Bickett's said that he is determined to take his case all the way to the Court of Final Appeal, the fact of the matter is that it's quite likely that that court will just uphold the decisions of the lower courts; this not least since it does feel like the entire justice system in Hong Kong has been compromised; with further comments by Judge Toh yesterday adding to the sense that something is very wrong with those charged with upholding the law in Hong Kong.

And then there's Hong Kong's current pandemic situation.  Before I turn entirely to it, spare a thought for Hong Kong's prisoners, political and otherwise, during the pandemic.  A Tweet from Samuel Bickett last week pointed out that, in view of Hong Kong being hit by a fifth coronavirus wave: "Prisons are suspending visits from friends/family for at least a week. For people like me who might enter prison next week, this means not only no visits, but no hand-ins: books, notebooks, pens, etc. All we can do is stare at a wall for days on end. This is a nightmare."

Then there's the restriction of the size of public gatherings from four to just two!  And the cops seem very eager to limit public gatherings already: with various accounts of them swooping to issue fines of people they perceived to be illegally gathering today outside coffee shops and in the main plaza at Discovery Bay (but not the larger gatherings of people waiting to be tested for Covid in various parts of Hong Kong, including Discovery Bay (whose entire community has been ordered to be tested!), Central, Wong Tai Sin, Yau Tong Road and Kwai Chung). 

Although Hong Kongers aren't literally up in arms, many figuratively are -- including those from groups who tend to be pretty blase about Hong Kong protests and political upheavalsA post in the expat-heavy HK Moms Facebook group has been widely shared on social media.  "Addressing Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, it accused the government of holding its citizens hostage with new Covid measures – the toughest restrictions since June 2020. “You have tried for two years, and failed. When will you stop holding the citizen of this once Asia’s city hostage? When does the goalpost stop moving further and further away every time we get closer? When do we say enough is enough Carrie Lam?”"!
Meanwhile, over on the LIHKG forum, a post (translated into English and shared on Twitter by Kris Cheng) noted the following: “Omicron just exposed all of Hong Kong’s problems: land/housing issue, bureaucracy, blindly following China, police over medics, poor execution of policies, corrupt officials, lack of opposition to blame”.  Also on Twitter is Quartz writer Mary Hui's "hot take on confluence of systemic factors behind HK's bumbling Covid mess" which lists the following:
"- Tradition of prizing performative over substantive policies 
- Authoritarian rule punishing any criticism of govt 
- Subservience to [Beijing] = misplaced accountability & misaligned incentives 
- [Hong Kongers'] 0 public trust in [government]".
Then there's the matter of, as the blogger over at Big Lychee, Various Sectors stated today: "It... getting hard to distinguish NatSec Gestapo from [Covid] Gestapo – as if the two are merging into the same thing. The LeaveHomeSafe app is becoming a general-purpose surveillance and tracking device, as if we are all being tagged like a suspect on bail (remember bail?). The state finds a way to shut down churches and temples. Government can intrude into your home to make sure too many families aren’t there, but enforcement can be selective (hello pan-dems)."  In other words: in Hong Kong, it's not just the coronavirus that's upsetting people, fifth wave and all.  Rather, it's the government too -- and that has been so for too long a while as is!