If there is any evidence of pandemic fatigue in Hong Kong, it would be the sight of beaches swarming with people without masks during a widening fifth wave of Covid-19. While it reflects badly on the city’s efforts in fighting the virus, it has also angered many across the border, where imported Omicron infections have resulted in the most stringent mainland lockdown in two years. As we struggle between zero infections and living with the virus, let’s remember controlling the outbreak is not just the city’s own business. Failing to do so may undermine cross-border relations and public safety nationwide. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was seemingly also feeling the heat when she urged the public to remain vigilant. She would not be drawn on criticism from those on the mainland, but conceded beaches should be sealed off to avoid gatherings. This is not the first time the government has been criticised for overlooking beaches when tightening Covid restrictions. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department said it had suspended lifeguard services since the onset of the latest wave, but stopped short of cordoning off beaches as it had done in the past. Officials apparently did not expect March temperatures to tempt people back to the water. The closures may help reduce grievances over the border, but Lam has said again that there is no plan to further tighten restrictions. However, a series of U-turns has led many people to wonder whether there will be further government knee-jerk responses if country parks, jogging trails and shopping centres end up becoming the next targets of criticism. With infections and deaths rising each day, Lam said it was understandable there would be criticism and, as head of the special administrative region, she was prepared for that. However, she was apparently satisfied with improvements in some areas, such as in the delivery of medical kits to self-tested patients and a greater supply of mainland coffins for funerals. Whether those facing problems are like-minded is another matter. No matter whether the latest outbreak is easing or plateauing, the surge to near 1 million infections is no reason to lower one’s guard. At stake is not only the city’s well-being, but also that of the nation.