The sentencing of two former flight attendants for breaching Covid-19 quarantine rules late last year may seem like water under the bridge. However, it is a stern reminder that the irresponsible acts of individuals risk snowballing into further outbreaks and wreaking havoc on society. This is especially true with Hong Kong again haunted by a stubborn resurgence of infections lingering from the deadly fifth wave of the coronavirus. Sentencing Wong Yoon-loong and Nilsson Lau Kok-wang, both 45, each to eight weeks in jail, Magistrate Edward Wong Ching-yu said the two men had abused their rights and privileges and carried out “totally unnecessary activities”, which resulted in infections for nine people at a restaurant, victims of the first local outbreak of the Omicron-induced fifth wave. The two former Cathay Pacific employees were found to have met friends and relatives and gone to restaurants, despite a 21-day medical monitoring notice that only allowed “necessary activities”, such as going to test centres. As vigilance wanes and calls for an easing of Covid restrictions grow, the behaviour of the men may appear relatively trivial today. However, both they and their employer were condemned by public opinion for unleashing an outbreak that saw more than 2 million people infected. The fallout is still being felt today, with the daily caseload hitting 10,000 on Thursday, the first five-digit toll since September. The city has arrived at a critical juncture. Even though imported infections remain steady at about 4 per cent following the easing of travel restrictions, the influx of new variants cannot be ruled out as travel picks up this month. Locally, the number of new infections has jumped more than 8 per cent in just one week, and all signs are pointing to a possible wider community outbreak ahead. The authorities have stopped short of tightening restrictions again, but have not ruled out that they may have to do so. Therefore it is all important that we comply with health restrictions at this particular challenging time. We trust officials will strive to strike a good balance between opening up and curbing the transmissions. Meanwhile, vigilance and compliance must prevail.