They are your friends, you thought you knew them well, but now it turns out they’re criminals. I’m not talking about delinquents or crooks, but quarantine breakers. These are respectable people who hold down professional jobs and pay their taxes on time. But I’ve recently discovered some of them are also prepared to break the rules if they think they can get away with it. Last week, a friend told me her husband was returning from the Middle East, where he’d been visiting his elderly parents. What did he want her to get before his return? He asked her to buy him a sports wristband – the sort tennis players use to mop their brows – to hide his quarantine bracelet. My horrified expression must have said it all because she shut up. The coronavirus outbreak has pushed people to make decisions that reveal what kind of person they really are – whether they are the sort to make selfless sacrifices or more inclined to think primarily of themselves. Hong Kong’s tough quarantine and travel restrictions I’ve taken to viewing people according to what I think of as “coronavirus morality”. Fortunately, the vast majority have sailed through, their random acts of kindness and sense of community making me happy to count them as friends. But it’s tricky with the quarantine breakers. One friend of many years returned from Europe at the start of the pandemic, before quarantine bracelets were mandatory, and was told by his employer to keep away from the office and work from home. Stuck inside with his wife and child, he quickly got cabin fever and took his laptop to his private club, in clear breach of the club’s travel advisory, which denied entry to anyone who had been in Europe in the preceding two weeks. Did it make me think differently of him? You bet. He felt sure he wasn’t carrying the virus, so presumably felt no guilt. But what if everyone took that position? What if he were an asymptomatic carrier? Was it his risk to take? They say if you really want to get to know someone, travel with them. I say an even faster way of getting to know the real person is to watch how they behave in a pandemic.