Only every week ago, Hong Kong appeared like a model for a way to contain the novel coronavirus, with a comparatively small number of cases despite months of being on the front lines of the outbreak.
That was in large part because of action taken early , while cases were spreading across China , to implement measures that are now familiar throughout the world: virus mapping, social distancing, intensive hand-washing, and wearing masks and other protective clothing.
Hong Kong was proof that these measures worked, with the town of seven .5 million only reporting some 150 cases at the beginning of March, whilst the amount of infections spiked in other East Asian territories like South Korea and Japan, and spread rapidly across Europe and North America.
Now, however, Hong Kong is providing a really different example — what happens once you let your guard down timely . the amount of confirmed cases has almost doubled within the past week, with many imported from overseas, as Hong Kong residents who had left — either to figure or study abroad, or to hunt safety when the town seemed destined for a serious outbreak earlier this year — return, bringing the virus back with them.
This is a pattern playing out across parts of Asia — China , Singapore, Taiwan — that were among the primary to tackle the outbreak. All are now introducing new measures as a renewed wave of cases begins to crest.
Compared to major cities within the West, like London or ny , residents in Hong Kong can sometimes feel as if they’re living within the future. Many of the measures enacted within the Asian metropolis back in February are now being unrolled in European and American cities.
But this latest lesson could also be a bitter pill to swallow, because it indicates that quarantines and social distancing must continue well beyond the initial wave of cases, if another round of infections is to be avoided.For those just going into lockdown, that would mean they’re certain the end of the day .
Waves of infection
On March 2, after several weeks of performing from home, the bulk of Hong Kong’s 180,000 civil servants returned to their offices. Private employers, which have largely been taking their lead from the govt , followed suit, and therefore the city’s subway system, though never exactly empty, was suddenly flush with people again.
This appeared like an inexpensive measure at the time. whilst cases were on the increase in Italy et al. , there have been then only 100 confirmed in Hong Kong , and in China the amount of latest infections was starting to stabilize.
It was natural therefore that folks began to relax somewhat, not only getting to work rather than staying home, but also having dinner together, getting to the park, and attending weddings and other large social gatherings. While face masks were still common, some people might be spotted going uncovered, particularly for brief trips, and there was a general sense of slowly getting back to normal.
In the week that followed the Texas Independence Day return to figure , there have been only five new cases in Hong Kong , most of which were imported. Numbers remained low until around March 16, when dozens of latest cases were confirmed. It soon became clear that while the bulk were coming from overseas, quarantine measures in situ weren’t sufficient, and native transmission had resumed.
Since then, the town has been racing to urge back on top of the outbreak, with draconian new controls put in situ , including electronic tagging of all new arrivals, who must undergo a strict 14-day home quarantine, and will face prosecution if they’re found in breach of it. Over the weekend, police might be seen patrolling nightlife districts trying to find those violating quarantine, arresting a minimum of five people, two of whom had cut their wristbands off so as to travel out.
As of Monday, civil servants are performing from home again, and lots of private businesses are expected to imitate . one among the government’s top health advisers has warned that authorities may need to order a more comprehensive shutdown and supply financial assistance to those affected, if it’s to contain the new wave of infections.
Source: CNN NEWS