I can’t help feeling rather resentful about what’s happened over the past week in Hong Kong, and how we’ve squandered all the progress we were making in keeping a lid on coronavirus infections. For starters, I’ve been working from home since an unfortunate infection in the newsroom forced the closure of our headquarters at Times Square. On the flip side, social distancing is a critical part of the war against this scourge that is paralysing the world, and I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me to retreat, far from the madding crowd, into my high-rise pigeon hole, unlike many others who have no choice but to head out into the fray day after day. But my resentment is more to do with the selfish, reckless and complacent behaviour of so many who have now put us in this predicament, just as we were turning a corner in our fight against Covid-19. The number of cases in this city rose by a shocking 48 on Friday, then by another 17 on Saturday, taking the total past 270. Most of the new patients had a recent history of travel and could be counted among the tens of thousands flooding back into Hong Kong, many bringing infections they picked up in Europe and North America. Why is China spreading a coronavirus conspiracy? You know, from those same countries that many Hongkongers fled to during the onset of this disease because they had no trust in China, no faith in their own city’s government. While the rest of us stayed behind and braved it out against all odds. Now that those purported safe havens they were counting on have failed them so miserably, they’re allowed to swarm back into this city and put the rest of us in danger all over again? How convenient. Of course, many were genuinely caught out while working, studying or travelling overseas and have the right to come home. Far be it from me to tar every returnee with the same brush. But why are so many people, including students fleeing coronavirus basket cases such as the US and Britain, allowed to traipse right back into their homes here like everything’s hunky-dory with the world? Even if they’re expected to “self-quarantine”, who’s monitoring the movements of their family members who may be exposed to the coronavirus? And talking about students, let’s hope the ones repopulating Hong Kong on their term break are nothing like the boneheads we see on US television, swarming the beaches like migratory flamingos at some great African salt lake, and saying stupid stuff like, “If I get corona I get corona, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.” Like, really, dude. Some of these young people who are the future of Hong Kong have been posting photos of themselves online, dining outside and removing the digital tracking bracelets they were given upon arrival at the airport to ensure they would stay home under self-quarantine. It’s all fun and hilarity, apparently. And while we’re on the subject of partying, where do we even begin with all the shenanigans at Lan Kwai Fong and other popular drinking and dining nightspots? How much more reckless can you get – standing shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers, imbibing alcohol from glasses and bottles that others are touching and breathing into, blowing smoke into everyone’s faces, talking so loudly that you’re spraying instead of saying it. You go, guys. Look to the US for the next big coronavirus crisis No wonder we’re seeing community clusters all over again – what with infected people attending wedding banquets, swanning around gyms and yoga centres, just spreading the love. Has no one been paying attention to the news recently? Yes, China, the big, bad communist country that nobody trusts has got a grip on the disease, and Hong Kong has been incredibly lucky so far, partly due to our ability to react faster, having learned from bitter experience, but we’re about to flush all the progress down the toilet. Just look at Iran, where the coronavirus is killing one person every 10 minutes, and infecting 50 every hour. And Italy, where they’ve called in the military to enforce quarantine measures after the disease claimed more than 620 lives in just 24 hours. That’s how bad it can get. We know it. What are we doing about it, besides constantly faulting a government that has done far better in this respect than the ones whose flags we’ve been waving? Yonden Lhatoo is the chief news editor at the Post Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.