Letters | Debate in Hong Kong on ‘zero Covid’ versus ‘living with Covid’ misses the point
- Readers urge the government chart a more forward-looking course out of the pandemic, and question the rationale behind continuing flight bans
The soaring number of Covid-19 cases and people suffering in Hong Kong has left me heartbroken. But what has left me even more frustrated is the never-ending debate on the direction of the Covid-19 strategy.
Let me be clear – I am all for suppressing the virus at this stage, given that a huge proportion of our vulnerable population is yet to be fully vaccinated. But at the same time, it is the government’s zero-Covid attitude and denial of the virus’ permanent existence that have led to the quagmire today.
Given the relatively calm Covid-19 situation last year, people never had a sense of urgency to get vaccinated. Nor did they have the motivation to, since the restrictions on travel abroad would remain largely the same. People have not taken the vaccine because they don’t see a way out through vaccination. We are a victim of our own success.
What we needed from the government was an acknowledgement that “zero Covid” would only ever be an interim measure, and that there was a clear road map towards living with the virus. This would have motivated people to get vaccinated. Unfortunately for Hong Kong, the window of opportunity has passed.
There could be many reasons as to why the government has insisted on the zero-tolerance policy, and I am not going to speculate on them, but we need to bear in mind that Hong Kong is fundamentally an external-oriented economy, and with the draconian measures rolled out in the past year or two, the pillars that defined our economy have been slowly crumbling.
Chris Chan, Tai Hang
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