Like most inhabitants of Hong Kong , I have watched with anxiety as the fifth wave of the coronavirus pandemic unfolds in the territory. But news this week left me with little doubt that mainland health professionals are being viewed with jaundiced eyes even before they have had the chance to help Hong Kong contain its worst outbreak since 2020. As the 75 doctors and nurses arrived on Monday, questions were raised about what would happen in the case of medical mishaps or accidents being caused by these new arrivals. These concerns have prompted Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority to state that the health professionals – from top hospitals in Guangdong – will be treated as “honorary staff” and that the authority will take “ultimate responsibility” for any mishaps. Amid a severe manpower shortage, the health professionals – including another 300 who arrived midweek – will initially provide treatment at AsiaWorld-Expo, which mainly handles elderly patients without severe symptoms. The concern over medical mishaps is valid given the high number of Covid-19 fatalities in the territory – 5,136 as of Thursday, said to be the highest mortality rate in the world at the moment. The Hong Kong Public Doctors’ Association said that since their mainland counterparts were not locally registered, the procedure for patients to file complaints would differ. But as the Covid-19 death toll continues to rise, it is ill-prioritised to agonise over scenarios that have not yet occurred. The most urgent task should be to reduce transmissions and prevent further deaths. It is as if we are watching a lifeguard trying to save a drowning person, while questioning their credentials. ‘Nothing to fear’: Hong Kong lawmaker pushes for more overseas doctors Before the health professionals arrived, people questioned whether these workers – who hail from hospital respiratory, nephrology, and cardiology departments – spoke Cantonese or understood English, even though most were proficient in both. The health professionals are likely to be aware of Hong Kong residents’ negative sentiments towards the mainland but even so they have opted to come to the territory in its time of need. These include the many volunteers and health professionals who have arrived since last month. When pictures of these individuals in medical gear and carrying luggage were posted online, some Hong Kong residents responded that the territory did not require more toilet cleaners. Others suggested the health professionals had come with empty luggage bags to be filled with cosmetics and branded goods to be resold at a profit when they returned to the mainland. The cattiness is uncalled for. Much of the resentment towards the mainland stems from what Hong Kong residents see as the steady erosion of the territory’s freedoms, which has been accentuated by the pandemic. But it is worth bearing in mind that individuals from the mainland who have come to help Hong Kong in these crucial times have chosen to undertake an unenviable assignment with long hours, restrictions on their mobility, risks to their health and even discrimination against them. They have left their families behind to ensure that more families in Hong Kong can remain healthy and intact. As individuals, they deserve first and foremost our appreciation and gratitude.