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Rugby fans cheer during the 2019 Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament. This year, Sevens fans will have more rules to follow. Photo: AP

LettersHong Kong must stop ‘lying flat’ on shaking off Covid-19 restrictions

  • Readers discuss the persistence of pandemic control measures in Hong Kong, and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s recent visit to the city
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A socially distanced rugby Sevens with vaccine mandates, testing mandates and mask mandates. What fun!
Even more fun: there will be marshals patrolling the crowd to make sure everyone is properly distanced and masked after taking a bite of whatever food they are allowed to eat.

I can’t imagine anything less fun, less like the traditional rowdy spirit of the Sevens, less like something to visit Hong Kong for. It’s as if we don’t know anything about Covid-19, but we do.

During the Australian football season just completed, millions of fans crowded football arenas around the country. The Covid-19 numbers for that period don’t show any negative impact of this free approach. During the peak football season, case numbers, hospitalisations and Covid-19 deaths were on a steady decline.

Even after the most heavily attended games – the finals in late September – there was no discernible jump in case numbers. Why do we keep acting as if there’s no experience anywhere else in the world to learn from?

Hong Kong Sevens must be proper comeback party, or we should wait

Jason Wordie is correct (“Dear Hong Kong Tourism Board, enough of the clichés – the city just isn’t what it was”, October 21). We won’t entice people back to Hong Kong with clichés, but with action. The first and most important action has to be to get rid of all Covid-19 restrictions.
Our leadership has the quaint notion that we must not “ lie flat”. This, they claim, is what the rest of the world is doing by living with the virus. This is a curious understanding of “lying flat”.

But think about it: “lying flat” is what we have been doing. Severe restrictions on gatherings, exercising, meeting and eating meant staying home was the best option. It was what urged elders like me to do: to stay at home, “lying flat” and remaining fearful.

Belated relaxations have been limited, tentative and anxious. Meanwhile, other countries are the ones standing up, freeing their citizens to live normal lives and refusing to lie down. The other countries are the ones with the courage to face down the virus and the remaining challenges of the pandemic. It is we here in Hong Kong who have been “lying flat”. It is time for us to stand up as well.

Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay

A welcome return of world-class music to Hong Kong

Interpreting Romantic-era repertoire under conductor Franz Welser-Möst, the Vienna Philharmonic’s appearance in Hong Kong was a huge triumph as it became the first leading foreign ensemble to visit the city since the start of the pandemic.
I had the good fortune to attend the first performance on October 24, and I am amazed by the orchestra’s choice of encores, including Josef Strauss’ Zeisserln waltz and Eduard Strauss’ Who’s Dancing? polka. Both works will be featured in the 2023 New Year’s Concert in Vienna, for which Welser-Möst will take the baton.

The New Year’s Concert in Vienna is one of the world’s most viewed classical music events, broadcast in more than 90 countries. Public broadcasters in Asia, such as China’s CCTV and Japan’s NHK, have been televising the concert on New Year’s Day for years.

RTHK should be lauded for broadcasting the Vienna Philharmonic’s Hong Kong concerts live on both radio and television, enabling music lovers who could not get tickets to enjoy the music anyway. May I suggest that our public broadcaster consider airing the New Year’s Concert live on one of its television channels, too, so that Hong Kong audiences can appreciate the legendary Viennese sound again?

Ben L. Tsang, Yuen Long