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Travellers queue for buses to their quarantine hotels after arriving at Hong Kong International Airport on July 8. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

LettersRegulate prices of quarantine hotel rooms, not least for long-suffering returning Hongkongers

  • Readers discuss the issues around Hong Kong’s quarantine hotels and whether evidence supports the city’s continued pandemic restrictions
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I arrived back in Hong Kong on July 10 with my wife after an expensive protracted stay overseas because of circumstances beyond our control. First, kudos to Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu for removing the flight ban.
I also applaud his decision to review and hopefully revamp the draconian rules in place for incoming travellers. If nothing else, preferential treatment must be given to all Hong Kong ID card holders.
When being shepherded to my hotel, I couldn’t help but wish I had the backing of a powerful government that would instruct all clients to only buy goods and services that I and a handful of my friends and associates could provide and also not regulate the prices we charged. This is basically what has happened with Hong Kong quarantine hotels.

They have a monopoly on all incoming passengers and are free to charge what they deem fit. Hotels where I would not spend even HK$800 (US$100) per night are now charging upwards of HK$4,000 per night and they are still fully booked until at least the last week of July. The government needs to regulate pricing so this price gouging can be stopped.

Having said that, there are still a few hotels that have maintained their pre-quarantine prices, but those are few and far between. Please consider the plight of the regular Hongkonger. We have already suffered during the last three years. It’s time to end this.

Deepak Mirchandani, Jardine’s Lookout

Why fret? Let us get on with life

There appears to be two opposing viewpoints as to what action is the most sensible with regards to Covid-19. The first, the official one, claims that if restrictions are relaxed too rapidly, there is a good chance the virus will mutate and we will end up in a much worse position than we are in now.
The second, the populist one, argues that other countries were in the same position and did not see their pandemic situation become more serious after relaxing restrictions, so we should open up to the rest of the world now. It seems to me the second opinion is more credible, even though a speedy relaxation would certainly increase the number of cases.
However, it should be asked whether those infected would be seriously affected and what strains it would have on the health system. Judging by the experience of other countries, the answer is not one we should worry about.

In Hong Kong, there is such an obsession with Covid-19 that one is tempted to ask why. Most countries do not seem bothered about it now and treat it as another disease which has to be attended to, so why do we still look upon it as the most newsworthy daily item?

Let us do what the rest of the world is doing. Accept that Covid-19 is here to stay and get on with living a normal life.

Chris Stubbs, Discovery Bay