The government’s decision to cancel the Oxfam Trailwalker almost at the last minute is not only disappointing but unwarranted. It shows the erratic decision-making process of the city’s policymakers when it comes to the Covid-19 health crisis. Taken as a draconian health measure, it is unsupported by logic or politics. The Hong Kong Marathon held last week attracted 18,500 runners. Despite a minor controversy about whether some participants were politically censored for their clothing and even tattoos, the event was a success and hailed as a big step towards Hong Kong’s return to normality. In July, the Hong Kong Book Fair drew about 830,000 visitors, and it was held indoors, at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. The charity trail-running race this month? There would have been about 4,600 runners, competing along open trails and wide roads in country parks and open spaces. It is, as they say, two steps forward and a step back. Oh, I almost forgot; what about Nicole Kidman and her film crew? Government officials said there would be “a potential risk for the spread of the virus” as race runners might come in contact with other hikers on the MacLehose Trail during the three-day event. Local officials need to exercise discretion and flexibility. Blindly acting tough won’t do. Two imported coronavirus infections were reported last week. The city had a single local case, involving an airport cargo handler, early in October. Before that, it enjoyed a 51-day streak of no local Covid-19 cases. Call it counter-cyclical. Outside China, Hong Kong is probably the only major city in the world to toughen health restrictions when infection is on a downtrend to almost zero cases. The trail race’s cancellation comes as the government has revoked quarantine exemptions for select groups deemed essential to the city’s operations, including diplomats and top business executives, as well as adding two extra weeks of isolation for recovered Covid-19 patients after hospital discharge. The government has made it a policy priority to reopen the border with the mainland. That’s not unreasonable, considering how many local families and businesses have been affected by the border closure. It must follow a “zero-Covid” policy just as the mainland does. Unfortunately, mainland authorities have not provided clear guidance or criteria on how and when such a convergence may be achieved to open the border. In this light, local officials need to exercise discretion and flexibility. Blindly acting tough won’t do.