Verbal fireworks are hardly the characteristic of a legislature devoid of political opposition. But Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s first question and answer session in a “patriot-only” chamber on Wednesday was anything but cordial. This is perhaps not surprising with the buck still being passed over the scandal of a birthday party attended by some officials and lawmakers amid the Omicron outbreak. Instead of wallowing in an ugly blame game, it would do well for the chief executive and the new Legislative Council to put aside grudges and work together on pressing issues facing the city. That the first Legco sitting of a new term was marked by sharp exchanges rather than a display of unity and cooperation is to be regretted. Lam had earlier taken issue with those who defied health advice and joined the birthday party at which some 200 people were invited despite local infections. Some lawmakers hit back at Lam and her team, saying the outbreak originated from the government’s slack enforcement of aircrew quarantine exemptions rather than social gatherings. Lam was well prepared and, citing a wealth of figures relating to Covid-19 infections and deaths, was adamant that the city was doing relatively well in keeping the virus at bay. She also dismissed calls for compulsory mass testings, saying 70 per cent of the 40-plus new infections so far were identified as a result of existing testing and quarantine measures. She also ruled out scrapping quarantine exemptions for cargo flight crew, but pledged to take action if Cathay Pacific was shown to have breached any rules. The distinction between pointing fingers and legitimate scrutiny should be clear enough for both sides. The legislature needs to avoid being seen that it is shifting the blame by questioning Lam and her team over the aircrew quarantine fiasco. However, it is also incumbent upon the government to reflect and act on any perceived strategic loopholes and inadequacies. The credibility and image of the government and the establishment camp have already been undermined by the party scandal and the widening outbreak. No matter whose fault it is, there will be no winner in this blame game. Will Covid-19 go? Will Carrie Lam stay? Predictions for 2022 What the public wants is not just accountability, but joint efforts in bringing infections under control once more. Lam said she hoped to work closely with the new Legco to win wider public recognition and deliver better results. However, just as unity is essential to fighting the pandemic, the tasks ahead, including the restructuring of policy bureaus and reforming the Mandatory Provident Fund scheme, cannot be achieved without close cooperation between the executive and legislative branches.