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Children wear face masks as they play on scooters at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay on March 16. Photo: Sam Tsang

LettersCoronavirus has changed life for Hong Kong’s children, but they can be partners in the fight against it

  • Hong Kong should follow the governments of Norway and New Zealand in holding ‘children only’ press conferences

Children often ask a lot of questions about everything. So how can we expect children not to ask about the coronavirus, which has turned the world – theirs included – upside down, and they are suddenly being asked to refrain from all the normal routine like school life, play, family visits, picnics and many more?

While our government has been announcing school closures, play room and library closures, and packages of relief measures to offset the economic downturn, there has been little to no effort to explain these life changes to children.

Meanwhile, governments overseas like in Norway and New Zealand have conducted “children only” press conferences to explain essential health information in child-friendly language. Their prime ministers have taken questions directly from children through phone and online platforms, instead of from adult reporters.

Government moves like these demonstrate that we treasure the future generations in the present. They also treat children as their working partners in the fight against the pandemic. Most important of all, such events are an opportunity to help children turn their negative thoughts into positive energy – opportunities that Hong Kong needs most now. Questions like “Can I still have a birthday party?” and “Can I still visit my grandma?”, quickly turn into “What can I do to help?”

“Together, we fight the virus!” is our Hong Kong government’s slogan. I wish to see our government include children in this battle against Covid-19 by giving them child-friendly information and directly communicating with them.

Billy Wong, executive secretary, Hong Kong Committee on Children’s Rights

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