After mounting criticism of an indecisive response, the government has finally introduced a measure that goes some way towards addressing the gravity of the threat posed by the new coronavirus . From Saturday travellers from mainland China, or who have been there in the past 14 days, risk jail for breaching a requirement to spend 14 days in quarantine . The new rules were soon put to the test with the arrival of a delayed flight from Beijing which failed to beat the Friday midnight deadline, leaving fliers in an unexpected predicament. Apparently implementation was orderly, with 161 quarantined. But given the dire need to contain a disease that has spread rapidly in mainland China, loopholes remain. Travellers without symptoms will have to spend 14 days in isolation at home , with friends or family, or at pre-booked hotels, or otherwise be sent to quarantine accommodation. Questions raised by critics and medical experts include how to ensure compliance and how hotel stays could be considered mandatory quarantine. Reliance on self-discipline clearly does not remove the risk, prompting calls for tougher penalties and exclusion of all Hongkongers under the 14-day rule. The government must therefore keep reviewing its response, while preparing for worse to come. This may be only the beginning of a long, hard battle, not made any easier by failure to secure stocks of masks and many other hygiene needs. The UN health agency has warned that the world is now facing a shortage of protective equipment including masks. It is good to see that criticism has galvanised the government response, for example in global sourcing of masks wherever they can be found without usual tendering protocols. Officials should ensure proper distribution that avoids panic buying. Coronavirus: single mother in Hong Kong uses same mask for five days After failing public expectations as the crisis unfolded, the government should shore up confidence by sharing its next steps and contingency plans. The importance of a joint effort to contain spread of infection is paramount. In that respect it is good to see the end of the strike by thousands of medical staff including doctors and nurses . Their concerns may be legitimate but their actions conflict with professional ethics. In the interests of patients, it is to be hoped the Hospital Authority and the government can improve communication with them. HA officials rightly say the priority now is to work together to fight the disease. Ultimately, a community effort is paramount. A rallying call for unity is a good time to acknowledge those already doing their part with donations and by fostering the city’s spirit of resilience in the face of adversity. An example is the response to our story about a single mother who used her mask for five days , which prompted people to donate and offer help in other ways. We need to celebrate and encourage them, for they represent the Hong Kong spirit.