Covid 19 – Hong Kong Perspective 3 – The Third Wave

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.

Some Notes on our Trip to Phuket – Photo showing view of Nai Yang Beach from the Hotel

The background of our travel:

Unrest – where we are based is affected by riots, protest and destruction of infrastructure for 7 months and is still on going; polarizing the whole society

Fears – coronavirus spreading.

Stress– worries about the above plus general health condition of family members have led to stresses

The atmosphere around us is very negative. We decided to make a short escape / visit to Phuket, where we can breath freely the fresh air without the need of a facial mask.

Transport:

Slightly more than three hours by plane.

Taxi from the Phuket airport to our hotel at Nai Yang Beach only took 10 minutes but cost 800 Baht (US$26). It was a rip off. For our return trip to the airport, the hotel’s limousine only charged us half the amount.

Itinerary:

We did a half day visit to the highest point on Phuket island, over viewing the whole island and also to Promthep to see the sunset. The driver / car cost us US$80.

We did a 7 hours group tour (car transfer then speedboat)to visit the islands : Maya, Phi Phi Don, Bamboo Island, Monkey Beach, costing US$90/ person.

We have a good tour of the Nai Yang Village and the adjacent beach.

Why Choose Phuket and not other places in Thailand:

In recent years, we visited Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Koh Samui. Phuket and Krabi are the two places which we haven’t visited for decades. We prefer Phuket as there is a direct flight.

Overall:

We breath fresh air, without a mask.

We saw many idyllic islands, beaches, clouds, swimming monkeys.

We have lunches and dinners by the beach.

There were also opportunities for snorkeling.

We love to have the sun, sand, blue sky and fresh air throughout the trip. My wife likes particularly the snorkeling she had in the sea; viewing the fishes. It was a good escape from our home base 🙂