Hong Kong was enjoying some coronavirus free days – no confirmed cases at all or a couple of cases in between . This trend was broken recently starting the second week of July.
The number of confirmed cases has suddenly climbed to over a hundred for many 12 consecutive days.
How did it all start?
We were too complacent; we can’t blame this entirely on the ordinary citizens. Many of them are practicing home stay or wearing masks in confined areas even there is no rule enforced.
The present situation is that, unlike the previous months, the virus is quickly spreading in the community and it is becoming difficult to identify the clusters.
There are loop holes in our system:
There are no regulations on incoming aircrew and seamen.
Aircrews and seamen are subject to few checks. The recent virus strains analysis show that they are highly correlated with those found in air crew from Kazakstan and also seamen from the Philippines and India.
Hong Kong is conveniently chosen as a location for changing of seamen. These seamen, subject to almost no checking, loiter around in the city, some without wearing any mask. Rules are now instigated to restrict their stay to 48 hours only. Not only that, they are not allowed to take public transport; only private transport from / to the landing point / airport is allowed.
Also, rules are tightened up on air crews; these apply to those manning passengers and goods carriers.
The virus now found are more infectious; they may have mutated to a even stronger strain.
The new rules which are more stringent means:
I need to put a mask on even in my daily hiking.
I can’t go out to eat in restaurants anymore as they only serve takeaways. After two days of trial, the rule is modified ; having breakfast and lunches ( but not dinners ) are allowed in restaurants in tables of not more than 2 persons, separated by at least 1.5m.
There are no longer venues open for my table tennis and tennis exercises.
Of course, I can’t travel outside HK.
More time now is allocated to practicing my calligraphy, watching TV and reading.
With the assistance of China, the government is going to implement a test of all residents for Covid 19; will see how it plays out.
I was too optimistic to think that the pandemic may end in Summer. It looks like it may only be under control when we have the vaccine.
Photo from Johns Hopkins Medicine