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Passengers at Hong Kong airport load their luggage into a bus which will transport them designated quarantine hotels on December 22. Photo: Nora Tam

LettersWhat Hong Kong’s 21-day quarantine policy tells us: the poor don’t matter

  • Increasing the quarantine period and mandating hotel stays makes returning to Hong Kong unaffordable for many, including members of the city’s ethnic minority communities
Has the Hong Kong government thought about the disparity between rich and poor travellers? It’s clear there’s a wealth gap (and arguably a travel tax) that bars those with fewer means to return to the city from overseas. And if they are able to, they are often forced into subpar accommodation, many times with little care for their well-being in terms of space, dietary restrictions, heat and sanitation.
Keep in mind some residents need to travel just to see sick loved ones. Also keep in mind many who struggle the most happen to be ethnic minorities in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, those who can afford to casually spend HK$40,000 have a relatively comfortable three-week stay.
If the Hong Kong government is forcing residents to spend quarantine in hotels, shouldn’t they at least subsidise the cost and do a proper audit of whether a three-week stay at some of these places even makes sense? Let’s see if these government officials can stay in their approved cheapest accommodations for 21 days.

Cost of 21-day Covid-19 quarantine leaves Hong Kong travellers stuck overseas

What is the message here? Only those with means can return? Keep in mind they made quarantine exceptions for the top executives of hundreds of locally listed companies. Hong Kong officials are the epitome of tone-deaf paper pushers.

Kevin Ung, San Francisco