As hundreds of patients have had to sleep in tents to wait for admission to public hospitals, it’s clear the city is struggling to contain the fifth wave of Covid-19, triggered by the Omicron variant. The latest decision, announced by city leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, to postpone the much-anticipated chief executive election from March 27 to May 8, is therefore justified. It came just two days after President Xi Jinping told local officials that the fight against the raging coronavirus outbreak must be their “overriding priority”. It’s also reminiscent of an earlier decision to delay the Legislative Council election in 2020 to last December. Even so, the manner of public discussions before the latest announcement makes you wonder if Lam still has proper access to the central government, which was likely to have been the first to raise the issue. It raises the question whether she was even the first to be told about it. The day before the announcement, at least three members of the Executive Council, or Exco, the Hong Kong government’s cabinet, wanted to postpone the election. Wong Kwok-kin, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and Ip Kwok-him, all with close ties to Beijing, expressed support for the idea first mentioned by Tam Yiu-chung, the city’s delegate on the powerful National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee. Tam cited Xi’s statement about the “overriding priority” of local officials and said the city should therefore delay the election. However, in a press interview, fellow Exco member Ronny Tong Ka-wah, a close associate of Lam, questioned the constitutional basis of a postponement as he said the Basic Law did not have provisions to extend the incumbent’s term of government. 3 more hopefuls emerge for Hong Kong leadership race, but Lam remains coy on bid He was also quoted as saying that doing so would be unfair to the next chief executive as it would mean shortening the time for the next government to select members for Exco. Clearly, he didn’t get the memo from Beijing as some of his Exco colleagues already had. Given that it took only one day for Tam and several others to float the idea before Lam made her official announcement, they could hardly claim to be doing so to prepare the public for the decision. Shouldn’t they have deferred to Lam to handle the announcement? Or perhaps they just want to show who really has access to the central government these days?