Actually, a lot of Hong Kong has felt comparatively regular this yr in contrast with its friends, which enacted strict lockdown measures.
Since its first confirmed case of Covid-19 on Jan. 22, Hong Kong went by means of phased closures of presidency workplaces, faculties, gyms and bars. However different companies had been comparatively unaffected, together with dine-in service at eating places, outlets, malls, and trains.
By all accounts, Hong Kong’s scenario might have been dangerous. It is one of many world’s densest cities. Public transit is commonly packed. There are even direct flights and trains from Wuhan, the Chinese language metropolis the place Covid-19 first emerged late final yr. Actually, greater than 2.5 million folks arrived from mainland China in January alone.
With a inhabitants of seven.5 million folks, Hong Kong has recorded round 1,200 circumstances. Singapore, by comparability has had greater than 43,000 circumstances, amid an outbreak in migrant employee housing. That triggered the city-state to enact lockdown measures for greater than two months.
In distinction, Hong Kong had consecutive weeks of zero new circumstances.
Here is 5 explanation why Hong Kong managed to keep away from lockdown whereas defeating Covid-19:
Many individuals in Hong Kong keep in mind residing by means of the extreme acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003.
“We had by no means skilled one thing like that at the moment,” Leah Choi advised CNBC recalling her expertise of rising up in Hong Kong. “However due to our expertise throughout SARS, the Hong Kong individuals are way more alert.”
Choi recalled academics taking her temperature and having to put on face masks on a regular basis.
“Right now, the Hong Kong individuals are way more diligent when going through the coronavirus outbreak, the place we all know what to do as a result of we already had an expertise of what might occur if we do not take all these security measures towards the virus,” she stated.
The primary day of returning to high school in Hong Kong for the reason that SARS outbreak on Might 12, 2003.
The outbreak, first recognized in 2002, ultimately got here to contaminate practically 1,800 folks in Hong Kong. Following the well being disaster, Hong Kong’s authorities created the Middle for Well being Safety, which makes a speciality of illness prevention and management.
“Once they first heard about circumstances occurring in mainland China, folks took it severely,” Keiji Fukuda, professor and director on the Faculty of Public Well being at The College of Hong Kong advised CNBC.
“The general public actually responded and so, in most locations within the metropolis, you could possibly actually see that most individuals had been sporting masks,” he stated referring to the times following town’s first confirmed case.
2. Decisive border management & strict quarantine measures
Hong Kong closed 9 of its 12 border checkpoints in late January, leaving the remaining three open to facilitate the move of products. Because the scenario developed, town banned all non-residents from coming into, beginning on March 25. By early April, there have been solely about 100 each day customer arrivals and those that arrived needed to bear a strict 14-day quarantine.
Marco Bellanda, a Hong Kong resident of six years, flew from his hometown in Italy again to town on Might 10, the place he was instantly examined for Covid-19. Regardless of his take a look at returning destructive, he was nonetheless required to quarantine for 14 days. Throughout that interval, the federal government tracked his location through an app and an electronic wristband he was required to put on.
“I’ve to sleep. I’ve to bathe. I’ve to cook dinner. I’ve to do all the things with this,” he advised CNBC over video name whereas in quarantine in his residence. When he returned to his condo following his preliminary take a look at, he was instructed to stroll round his residence, so the federal government might guarantee his motion over the following two weeks would strictly be inside his residence’s coordinates.
Marco Bellanda, a Hong Kong resident of six years, arrived again into town and was required to quarantine for 14-days with a location-tracking wristband.
“I can’t go downstairs or exterior, in any other case I believe it should ring,” he stated. “Truly, I do not need to strive as a result of the positive can be HK$25,000 ($3,225) and 6 months jail.”
Apart from the wristband, Marco has additionally obtained sporadic calls from authorities officers on WhatsApp, guaranteeing he was residence and asking if he had any signs or was feeling unwell.
As an infection ranges plunged, town regularly eased a few of its border controls on the finish of April.
3. Contact tracing
Contact tracing is a technique of finding individuals who could have been uncovered to Covid-19. In lots of circumstances, these individuals are instructed to self-isolate for 14 days to observe for any potential signs. The apply has been used extensively throughout many Asian international locations in the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
Upon his return to Hong Kong, authorities officers requested Bellanda to jot down down the license plate of the taxicab that introduced him residence. This manner authorities might contact the taxi driver in case Bellanda later examined optimistic for Covid-19.
The Hong Kong authorities additionally updates an interactive on-line map depicting detailed details about all of the confirmed circumstances across the metropolis, together with dates and instances of motion.
4. Centralized authorities
Hong Kong’s comparatively small inhabitants has made it simpler for the federal government to observe and management the motion of its folks versus locations with greater populations.
For instance, the U.S. has had totally different responses to the pandemic on the federal, state, county and metropolis ranges, making a coordinated method way more difficult.
5. Cultural habits
Professor Fukuda, who beforehand labored on the World Well being Group, has lived in each the U.S. and Asia. He thinks cultural outlook has performed a big position in the best way the outbreak has been contained within the latter.
“If you will get folks and the authorities to work collectively, it is an amazingly highly effective mixture,” he stated. “There is a very excessive consciousness about not desirous to have an effect on different folks and never wanting to place them at danger. So, when the general public says, we’re a part of the explanation why issues are going effectively, it is completely true.”
Fukuda highlighted politicization has hindered the U.S. and its capability to comprise the outbreak. The U.S. has now reported greater than 2.6 million confirmed circumstances.
“In Asia, there’s a very vital diploma of concern about different folks, about taking good care of one another,” he stated. “Within the States, it has actually uncovered that there are massive cultural variations within the nation. So, whether or not you might be within the rural areas or within the cities, whether or not you might be in purple states or blue states.”
“Whereas in Hong Kong, if something, the outbreak has introduced folks nearer collectively,” he stated.