There is no “quick fix” to the economic ravages being wrought by the health, financial and political crises pummelling Hong Kong. The third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is the most immediate challenge, but hopes should not be raised overly high that a vaccine or medical breakthrough are imminent. Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po is therefore being realistic in warning that tougher times lie ahead unless the pandemic can be overcome. While the government has to do its best to support those struggling from the downturn, resources are limited and a long-term strategy has to be found to protect livelihoods and the city’s well-being. Public spending warning as Covid-19 dials up pressure on Hong Kong economy The economic and financial data are depressing; not for more than a decade has there been such a decline and unemployment is ever-rising. Hopes of a quick recovery have been vanquished by a resurgence of the coronavirus at home and abroad, the daily number of infections remaining worryingly high. Chan has rightly pledged that authorities will work hard to help financially struggling companies and individuals. But the strategy so far adopted that has involved a HK$10,000 handout to every adult permanent resident and a HK$81 billion employment scheme to protect jobs is not sustainable, nor is it the solution. Hong Kong’s most urgent need is to bring the latest outbreak under control and for that the city can look to mainland expertise and experience for help. Teams to assist with testing for Covid-19 and building quarantine and treatment centres have started arriving. Authorities should learn from Beijing’s success in overcoming the disease and be pragmatic and resist pressure against accepting help. But the mainland can also have a significant role in the economic recovery. When Covid-19 has been contained, talks with Guangdong and Macau can resume for a “travel bubble” so that residents can move freely across boundaries. The mainland’s huge market and Beijing’s Greater Bay Area plan for growth and development will be one of the main panaceas to revive Hong Kong’s economy and fortunes. The government has to ensure fiscal sustainability, a necessity if confidence in the city and the link between the local currency and US dollar are to continue.