How Hong Kong beat coronavirus and averted lockdown

How Hong Kong beat coronavirus and avoided lockdown

When Apple closed its retail stores all around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic, a handful of shops were exempt, such as its 6 destinations in Hong Kong.

In truth, considerably of Hong Kong has felt fairly normal this calendar year in contrast with its peers, which enacted strict lockdown measures.

Due to the fact its initially confirmed case of Covid-19 on Jan. 22, Hong Kong went by way of phased closures of authorities places of work, educational institutions, fitness centers and bars. But other services had been comparatively unaffected, including dine-in company at dining places, stores, malls, and trains.

Nowadays, office environment personnel are back to enterprise and the city has reopened its fitness centers and even nightclubs.

By all accounts, Hong Kong’s circumstance could have been negative. It’s one of the world’s densest metropolitan areas. General public transit is typically packed. There are even immediate flights and trains from Wuhan, the Chinese city the place Covid-19 very first emerged late very last year. In truth, far more than 2.5 million persons arrived from mainland China in January by yourself.

With a populace of 7.5 million men and women, Hong Kong has recorded about 1,200 scenarios. Singapore, by comparison has had far more than 43,000 scenarios, amid an outbreak in migrant worker housing. That induced the metropolis-condition to enact lockdown actions for much more than two months.

In contrast, Hong Kong had consecutive months of zero new instances.

Hong Kong managed to stay clear of a lockdown whilst made up of — and to a big extent — getting rid of Covid-19.

Here’s 5 factors why Hong Kong managed to stay away from lockdown whilst defeating Covid-19:

1. Experience

Lots of persons in Hong Kong try to remember residing via the critical acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003.

“We had hardly ever seasoned a little something like that at that time,” Leah Choi advised CNBC recalling her encounter of expanding up in Hong Kong. “But due to the fact of our encounter through SARS, the Hong Kong folks are much a lot more notify.”

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Choi recalled lecturers having her temperature and acquiring to don experience masks all the time.

“Right now, the Hong Kong people today are a lot extra diligent when facing the coronavirus outbreak, where we know what to do since we presently had an experience of what could come about if we do not just take all these security actions versus the virus,” she reported.

The to start with day of returning to faculty in Hong Kong due to the fact the SARS outbreak on May possibly 12, 2003.

Getty Photographs

The outbreak, initially discovered in 2002, sooner or later came to infect almost 1,800 people today in Hong Kong. Pursuing the wellbeing disaster, Hong Kong’s authorities developed the Middle for Overall health Protection, which specializes in sickness avoidance and regulate.

“When they initially listened to about scenarios occurring in mainland China, people took it seriously,” Keiji Fukuda, professor and director at the Faculty of Community Health at The College of Hong Kong instructed CNBC.

“The general public actually responded and so, in most areas in the town, you could genuinely see that most men and women ended up carrying masks,” he said referring to the times adhering to the city’s initially confirmed circumstance.

2. Decisive border manage & stringent quarantine measures

Hong Kong shut 9 of its 12 border checkpoints in late January, leaving the remaining three open up to aid the circulation of items. As the problem evolved, the city banned all non-residents from getting into, starting on March 25. By early April, there ended up only about 100 every day customer arrivals and those who arrived had to bear a rigorous 14-day quarantine.

Marco Bellanda, a Hong Kong resident of six many years, flew from his hometown in Italy back again to the town on May possibly 10, exactly where he was instantly tested for Covid-19. In spite of his test returning damaging, he was nevertheless necessary to quarantine for 14 times. During that period of time, the federal government tracked his location through an app and an digital wristband he was expected to don. 

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“I have to slumber. I have to shower. I have to prepare dinner. I have to do every thing with this,” he explained to CNBC around video clip contact though in quarantine in his dwelling. When he returned to his apartment subsequent his initial examination, he was instructed to stroll all over his home, so the federal government could be certain his movement in excess of the following two months would strictly be within just his home’s coordinates.

Marco Bellanda, a Hong Kong resident of six a long time, arrived again into the city and was necessary to quarantine for 14-times with a locale-tracking wristband.

CNBC

“I cannot go downstairs or outside the house, otherwise I think it will ring,” he reported. “Really, I you should not want to consider since the great would be HK$25,000  ($3,225) and six months jail.”

Besides the wristband, Marco has also acquired sporadic phone calls from authorities officials on WhatsApp, guaranteeing he was property and inquiring if he experienced any indicators or was experience unwell.

As infection levels plunged, the town gradually eased some of its border controls at the finish of April.

3. Contact tracing

Call tracing is a approach of finding persons who may have been exposed to Covid-19. In many conditions, these people today are instructed to self-isolate for 14 times to keep an eye on for any prospective indicators. The exercise has been used extensively across many Asian countries in the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

Upon his return to Hong Kong, federal government officers questioned Bellanda to produce down the license plate of the taxicab that brought him dwelling. This way authorities could call the taxi driver in situation Bellanda later examined good for Covid-19.

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The Hong Kong government also updates an interactive on the net map depicting specific info about all the confirmed scenarios all over the metropolis, which include dates and times of movement.

4. Centralized governing administration

Hong Kong’s somewhat small populace has created it less difficult for the governing administration to observe and management the motion of its folks as opposed to sites with greater populations.

For example, the U.S. has had different responses to the pandemic at the federal, state, county and town levels, generating a coordinated technique significantly far more hard.

5. Cultural behaviors

Professor Fukuda, who beforehand worked at the Environment Wellbeing Firm, has lived in both the U.S. and Asia. He thinks cultural outlook has performed a substantial job in the way the outbreak has been contained in the latter.

“If you can get folks and the government to work with each other, it is an incredibly powerful combination,” he claimed. “There’s a quite significant consciousness about not seeking to affect other people and not seeking to place them at risk. So, when the community says, we’re portion of the cause why matters are likely very well, it is really completely correct.”

Fukuda highlighted politicization has hindered the U.S. and its skill to incorporate the outbreak. The U.S. has now noted extra than 2.6 million verified scenarios.

“In Asia, there is a very significant diploma of worry about other men and women, about using care of each and every other,” he mentioned. “In the States, it has seriously uncovered that there are major cultural discrepancies in the state. So, whether or not you are in the rural places or in the towns, no matter if you are in pink states or blue states.”

“While in Hong Kong, if anything at all, the outbreak has introduced individuals nearer together,” he mentioned.

Cory Weinberg

About the author: Cory Weinberg

Cory Weinberg covers the intersection of tech and cities. That means digging into how startups and big tech companies are trying to reshape real estate, transportation, urban planning, and travel. Previously, he reported on Bay Area housing and commercial real estate for the San Francisco Business Times. He received a "best young journalist" award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

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