Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Hong Kong will do away with many pandemic regulations and restrictions tomorrow but this doesn't mean that normality is anywhere in sight still!

Come tomorrow, banners like this will not be 
blotting the Hong Kong landscape anymore!
With regards to specifics, a Hong Kong Free Press piece outlines that: "Hong Kong is to scrap its Covid Vaccine Pass scheme, Chief Executive John Lee has announced on Wednesday, meaning proof of vaccination will no longer be required to enter key venues. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests for international arrivals will be scrapped, though unvaccinated non-residents will still be denied entry.  The health authorities will also stop requiring close contacts of Covid-19 patients to undergo isolation, will axe the group gathering limit of 12 people and lift venue capacity limits"!
Hong Kong's move follows in the wake of China's decision to abandon its Zero Covid strategy (presumably because it was failing). And while there are undoubtedly people who hail it, others are less pleased -- including respiratory medicine specialist Leung Chi-chi.  "The medical system could be overburdened as Hong Kong still sees the trend of daily confirmed cases at a high level under the winter season," he's stated.  In addition, he's suggested "that travellers from the mainland to Hong Kong should be required to have received at least two doses of vaccination to reduce the potential infection risks."
Frankly, if many Hong Kongers had their way, the border between Hong Kong and Mainland China will be sealed off, not opened widely.  But that's not going to happen.  Despite cases roaring in Mainland China, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee announced on Christmas Eve (last Saturday) that by mid-January, Hong Kong’s border with the mainland would reopen.  And the scrapping of the vaccine pass and a number of other restrictions slated to take place from tomorrow appear designed to smooth the movement of Mainland Chinese people not only into Hong Kong but, also, while they are in Hong Kong!
Something worth noting: Hong Kong is still refusing to "lie flat" by keeping some pandemic rules and regulations.  Measures that will remain in place even after today include "the mask mandate, isolation orders for Covid patients, daily rapid testing for students and teachers, a ban on unvaccinated international arrivals, and a ban on eating on ferries."  As Hong Kong Free Press chief editor Tom Grundy noted in a Tweet: Hong Kong still "is definitely not 'back to normal"".  And that's not even taking into account the continued existence of the draconian national security law that China imposed on the territory back on June 30th, 2020.
Something that makes the situation in Hong Kong particularly abnormal: even while it has a pandemic mask (wearing) mandate, it also has a mask ban on the books.  A reminder:back in October 2019, then Chief Executive Carrie Lam invoked emergency powers to introduce a Face Covering Regulation targetted at pro-democracy protestors.  When I first heard of it, I called it another disastrous proposed piece of legislation.  Now I think of it as frankly ludicruous.  
But for the Hong Kong government, it of course has the purpose of providing a legal basis for punishing protestors and dissuading protests.  As now overseas based journalist, Kris Cheng, Tweeted this afternoon: "So in Hong Kong there will be no more quarantine order, vaccine pass, and all social distancing measures except mask mandate. That means peaceful protests are fine now if you wear a mask? oh wait the anti-mask law for protests is still in place…"


Anonymous said...

Hi There,

Dang, the puppets really did it. Guess what we can do is to further avoid gathering and do not go to crowded places unless absolutely necessary.

Checked. They have even removed the RAT test results declaration page for close contacts.


YTSL said...

Hi T --

Yes re our needing to protect ourselves. Take care and keep well!