Relaxation of rules welcome, but jabs remain only answer
- Despite shorter quarantine hotel stays for some and signs of business picking up, the city’s greatest challenge lies in reopening its border with neighbours and the outside world
But until there is herd immunity against the coronavirus and its variants, piecemeal adjustments in the meantime are bound to fall short of expectations. The best way for life to get back to some form of normality is for the public to get vaccinated.
Despite business picking up in recent weeks, some traders have warned that the unconditional easing of curbs on seating and capacity in restaurants, bars and karaoke lounges may make little difference because many people are still wary of taking off their masks in public. Therefore the general need for staff and customers to be inoculated means jabs remain key to economic recovery. While officials are expected to further relax restrictions, it is incumbent upon those industries most affected to adapt and comply.
The ban on gatherings of more than four people introduced in March last year has been relaxed and tightened according to the number of local infections. Among those affected by the limit are not only protesters, but also domestic helpers, families and friends who cannot enjoy themselves to the full outdoors. The rule should be adjusted with cases now stabilising.
The greater challenge lies in reopening the border with our neighbours and the outside world. It will take another two weeks of zero local infections to relax travel rules to Macau, but the way forward for trips to the mainland is more unclear. Meanwhile, mutating virus strains across the globe continue to pose serious risks to the city’s defence mechanism. That makes vaccination, the best shield against infections, all the more important.