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It’s easy for us laypersons to criticise the government for maintaining strict measures to control the spread of Covid-19. Of course, it is not hard to understand the frustration felt, especially when most countries with much higher infection and death rates have prioritised the economy over health and adopted a “lying flat” strategy.
Yet Hong Kong is still recording around 4,000 cases a day, and is seeing a handful of deaths every day. Furthermore, our vaccination rate is still below
what is needed to protect the city against this serious disease.
Among the huge number of people unwilling to get vaccinated, there are thousands using fake vaccine exemption certificates
. These unvaccinated people are susceptible to infection and more likely to spread the virus at restaurants, bars and other social venues. This is not like jaywalking, where the culprit poses a danger largely to himself, but instead aggravates the community infection and death rates.
Our government does not want to fail through lack of a final effort and is right not to “dig half a hole” (“Hong Kong shouldn’t just reopen halfway”, October 1
) but to proceed step by step to secure a thorough recovery. As a result of the fake certificate infection chain being effectively cut off, the infection rate should drop, and when the government is certain that there will be no surge in infection and death rates, it will move to more fully ease restrictions.
Finally, we must remember that Covid-19 is not mild like the seasonal flu, judging by the seriousness of some cases and the number of deaths it can cause, not to mention the risk of developing long Covid.
Charmaine Chan, North Point
Half-day school will worsen our talent shortage
The latest Covid-19 policy relaxation
offers a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately, this remains only a very faint hope, with a limited impact on our lives. One of the biggest issues with the current regulations is the way they affect schoolchildren.
Hong Kong’s pupils are mostly vaccinated, with over 70 per cent of children aged three to 11 years old having received at least two vaccine doses. Further, the effect of Covid-19 on youngsters is mostly mild. Yet education is being compromised because most children cannot attend
full-day, in-person lessons.
The EDB’s own website
says that “whole-day primary schooling is superior to half day primary schooling in all respects”. That a huge number of children cannot attend full-day classes at school is utterly unfair to those who acted on the government recommendation to get vaccinated. It also encourages defiance: if I am penalised whether I follow official recommendations or not, why should I bother complying next time?
The Education Bureau made “law-abidingness” a priority value in 2020. Laws emanate from the government. If the people lose faith in the government, they will lose trust in the laws it enforces.
The Hong Kong government is trying to attract talent
to our city. This is a difficult task, made more difficult by local policies. Why would talented people come to Hong Kong when they know their kids will be deprived of half their school time?
More than this, providing Hong Kong children with an inferior education is creating a dangerous time bomb for the city, the effects of which will be felt in 10-20 years when these children enter the job market. How much talent will we lose because a generation of pupils were not allowed to reach their full potential?
The government holds not just the immediate future in its hands, but the city’s long-term prosperity.
Vincent Andre, Yuen Long
Outdoor workers need more protection from the heat
I am writing in response to the report
, “Over 50pc of outdoor sanitation workers have been hit by heat-related illnesses”, September 15). First, I would like to express my gratitude to all our city’s cleaners who work outdoors.
Hong Kong recently went through a hot spell, and a large number of cleaners suffered from dizziness, difficulty breathing, exhaustion and headache. Twenty per cent said they had suffered such symptoms every day.
The government should regulate cleaners’ working hours, so that they do not need to work outdoors in the afternoon. It would also be helpful if charities could set up free cold water kiosks for cleaners to help them cool down quickly.
Georgia Sit, Kwai Chung