The gradual return to normal life in many parts of the world may give some Hongkongers the impression that they, too, should strive to put the coronavirus behind. But the truth is that the city is still counting on its stringent restrictions to curb a worrying resurgence in infections. With thousands of cases still reported every day, those who flout the rules are essentially putting their own lives and those of others at risk. More importantly, they are undermining the city’s defence mechanism against the pandemic. The arrest of a doctor for allegedly issuing some 7,000 vaccination exemption certificates without proper diagnosis of patients has raised concerns over compliance with the vaccine pass requirement – a key tool to enhance inoculation and immunity barrier against infections. The case is now under criminal investigation, and possibly a matter for the Medical Council for further action. The authorities have rightly warned against the use of fake exemption documents. The Covid-19 vaccines have proved to be efficacious in reducing the risks of severe illness and death. Unless people have valid medical reasons not to be vaccinated, it makes no sense to shun the jabs and put their own lives and those of others at risk. The certificates in question are just one of the facets of non-compliance with the city’s anti-pandemic regime. Earlier, nine people were sent to the Penny’s Bay quarantine centre after they were suspected of breaching home isolation orders and attempting to enter listed premises with their red-coded vaccine passes. The Post has emphasised the need for the rules to be applied with a dose of common sense. That is not to encourage indulgence and slack enforcement, though. This is not the first time people have been caught for allegedly breaching quarantine and vaccine pass restrictions. Hong Kong doctor arrested on suspicion of issuing bogus Covid-19 jab exemptions As of August 20, around 260 people had been convicted by the courts for breaching regulations related to isolation or quarantine and have received sentences of up to four months’ imprisonment or a fine of up to HK$15,000 (US$1,910). More than 600 suspected cases of violating the rules are under investigation or being followed up, including more than 140 breaches in relation to the wearing of electronic wristbands. Separately, the authorities have processed more than 25,000 compulsory testing orders and 7,000 fixed penalty notices on people who did not comply with the regulations. There is more to enforcement than just holding offenders accountable. The public must be made aware that any individual irresponsible act would collectively pose a threat to public health and make a mockery of a robust defence mechanism built on painful lessons. Unless the measures are underpinned by firm and broad public support, the pandemic may drag on.