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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

Letters | Hongkongers feel trapped by quarantine and travel restrictions in place

  • Readers discuss the difficulty of navigating Hong Kong’s quarantine requirements, easing the climate of fear in the city and the new dual-colour health code
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I have lived in Hong Kong for 14 years. I love it here, and this is the place I call home. However, the ordeal I have experienced in the last few days has made me feel trapped.

Hong Kong has had its own travel rules for the last three years, and I will refrain from commenting on them. While I agree to abide by the rules, I must register my total disappointment with the fact that even accepting all these restrictions, the number of challenges one must go through to book a quarantine hotel room for one’s return to Hong Kong is a real nightmare.
It is so complicated that one is forced to waste hours to get things done. It feels like when you get the plane ticket, you cannot get the hotel room and vice versa – a diabolic, vicious cycle that leads you to pure despair. This is not to mention that the price of airline tickets has skyrocketed because of many airlines giving up on Hong Kong as an aviation hub.

This is unacceptable and shows a lack of organisation and consideration for local residents.

I hope that more quarantine rooms will be provided, the number of quarantine days reduced or Hong Kong residents who are vaccinated and test negative on arrival are allowed to quarantine at home so eventually we can travel more freely for business or personal matters. Thank you.

Doris von Niederhaeusern Bertoli, Mid-Levels


Hong Kong health chief says any hotel quarantine reduction will be based on Covid infection data

Hong Kong health chief says any hotel quarantine reduction will be based on Covid infection data

New leadership must ease climate of fear

One of the great hopes of Hong Kong people is that Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu and his new team will quickly help ease the fear and paranoia afflicting many in the city. This is something that will always be the legacy of his predecessor with her baffling daily updates with zero solutions.

Because of her shoddy mismanagement of Hong Kong, its people live in constant fear of being dragged out of their homes and taken to some place like the Penny’s Bay quarantine centre. They have become serial alarmists glued to the latest government news reports and surviving in a stunted environment of negativity.
Imagine what this is doing, especially to the minds of children who don’t know any better. For Lee, the “we and us” campaign promise must be seen as working to loosen the invisible noose around Hong Kong’s neck.

What is not needed are more mandatory Covid-19 tests and threats of new quarantine measures. This would make everything that Lee and his team are working on futile, while sending a picture to the world of a Hong Kong in its death throes.

That is hardly a great advertisement for tourism and offering the community the confidence not to panic, is it?

Hans Ebert, Wan Chai

Turn focus back to Hong Kong’s economy

To combat the Covid-19 pandemic, Hong Kong now intends to follow what the mainland does and introduce a dual-colour health code system, integrated into the “Leave Home Safe” app, that will be used to curb infections by tracking residents’ movements.

A Chinese expression, “southern tangerine and northern citrus”, expresses how different conditions can lead to different outcomes. After the initial Covid-19 outbreak, no mainland Chinese cities have experienced a full-blown outbreak in which the majority of people were infected. Therefore, it is understandable that preventive strategies on the mainland are different from those in Hong Kong.

In Shanghai, for example, the number of people infected is less than 1 per cent of the city’s population. In Hong Kong, some estimates suggest more than half of the population has been infected. The Shanghai government implemented strict measures to accomplish its goal of reaching “zero infection”, leaving the economy as a secondary concern.
Many governments around the world have faced the hard choice between saving human lives or the economy. Hong Kong has had the misfortune of losing almost 10,000 lives, but we faced down a serious outbreak and have apparently achieved hybrid immunity.

Plus, we have a high percentage of our population fully vaccinated. It is about time to turn back to taking care of the faltering economy and make sure the people are fed.

It’s not that Western societies are trivialising human lives. They just think that rather than try to eradicate an evolving virus, it is better to let go of the sweaty work of chasing after Covid-19.

I believe our government is now on the right track. We should be fixing our attention on the economy. Now is the time to help Hong Kong people make dough. Livelihoods should no longer be ignored or devalued.

Randy Lee, Ma On Shan