Hong Kong reopens: life after quarantine
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Chief Executive John Lee speaks at the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit at the Four Seasons Hotel in Central on November 2. Photo: Sam Tsang

Letters | Has Hong Kong finally put the worst behind it? Not quite

  • Readers discuss the optimism that Hong Kong is back, awkward phrasing on the health declaration form for arrivals, the need for normality by international standards, and the mask mandate
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Hong Kong is back. That was the sentiment prevailing during the international financial summit last week. The long-awaited event was successfully held under tremendous pressure and amid massive challenges.
Our major rival Singapore held a fintech event akin to ours. We still have around 5,000 Covid-19 cases each day. Then, there was the unwelcome visit of Severe Tropical Storm Nalgae that compounded the stress we already felt. Worse still, American politicians were calling for a boycott of the global financial leaders’ summit and threatening sanctions against those who attended.
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chui proudly declared in his speech at the summit: “The worst is behind us.” He pointed out that while geopolitical tensions are rising, inflation is high and the world economy has been spiralling downwards, Hong Kong is doing well.
Yes, Hong Kong has the full backing of China. It also has an important role to play under the national belt and road strategy. Moreover, the city’s role as an offshore trading hub for Chinese currency is being strengthened.
However, I am not so sure Hong Kong has put the worst behind it. We still cannot see a path to “ 0+0” restrictions, allowing free travel to and from the rest of the world. The government is not inclined to lift its property cooling measures, and is thus impeding free-market operations. A property downturn could have a knock-on effect on other sectors, such as construction and retail, and on financial markets.

So, we can take Lee’s words as encouragement to buck us up amid the tough times ahead. We still have many battles to fight before we can truly defuse the crisis and get out of danger. I do believe better times lie ahead if we keep trying hard and continue to harbour hope.

Randy Lee, Ma On Shan

‘One language, two systems’ on health declaration form

Either my English has deteriorated badly or someone else’s has. I find myself unable to process this sentence from Hong Kong’s Health and Quarantine Information Declaration: “I have conducted/acknowledged that I must have conducted a Covid-19 Rapid Antigen Test within 24 hours and have been tested negative for Covid-19 before the scheduled departure time of the flight to Hong Kong. (Yes/No)”.

Does “I must have conducted” mean you have actually (to the best of your knowledge) conducted the test or that you must do so at some point?

Does “I have acknowledged” mean that you have done so already, or that you are doing it right now?

The writer’s unconventional use of English modality and aspect suggests that Hong Kong English may be a case of “one language, two systems”?

Tony Hung, Singapore

Hong Kong a long way from being back to normal

While all will welcome the continued easing of Covid-19 restrictions, Hong Kong is a long way from where it needs to be, if it is to be considered as back to normal internationally.

Arrival through the airport is a very smooth and efficient process, particularly as there are so few incoming flights, but the ridiculous continued focus on PCR tests every other day and the requirement for daily RAT self-testing makes Hong Kong the exception internationally.

The Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit and the Sevens were a great success and the government is to be commended for promoting them.
However, one wonders who is advising the chief executive to continue with the local entry restrictions? Mask wearing should be voluntary and not mandatory.
Did the United Kingdom have a medical emergency as a result of the vast unmasked numbers who publicly grieved for the late queen?

Antony W. Wood, Quarry Bay

Relax mask mandate to show Hong Kong is back

I applaud government officials’ assertions that Hong Kong is back and open for business after the two recent international events hosted here.

Let’s now prove it to the world further by dropping the compulsory wearing of masks in public places.

Duncan Hancock, Lamma Island