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Move over zero-Covid Hong Kong, make way for ‘World City’ Singapore

November 19, 2021 GMT

The Hong Kong government has recently revoked most quarantine exemptions to clear the roadblocks to reopening the border between Hong Kong and the mainland. While reopening the border is undeniably important, because it could give our economy a boost, as almost the only territory which enforces a “zero-Covid” policy along with mainland China, Hong Kong faces the increasing risk of alienating our international trading partners. This policy could also discourage expats from working in Hong Kong.

The government’s measures effectively bar foreigners from Hong Kong, and could lower our competitiveness vis-A-vis other financial hubs. Take Singapore, for example. A major competitor to Hong Kong, Singapore started out enforcing a strict zero-Covid policy similar to Hong Kong’s. However, even as the Delta variant was sweeping through the nation, Singapore abandoned this policy and switched to a “living with Covid” strategy, reopening its borders to vaccinated international travellers.

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The government promotes Hong Kong as “Asia’s World City” but the current policies go in the opposite direction, eroding the difference between Hong Kong and mainland cities.

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With many places reopening their borders and adopting the “living with Covid” strategy, even as Hong Kong isolates itself, and with Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor insisting that reopening the border with the mainland is the priority over the rest of the world, maybe the Hong Kong government should concede the title of “Asia’s World City” to Singapore and reposition Hong Kong as “China’s Ordinary City” instead.

T.P. Man, Kwai Tsing

Does Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor not comprehend that one person does not define the economic interests of Hong Kong? That responsibility has been the burden of the residents of Hong Kong who have, despite the government’s draconian and scientifically unproven quarantine restrictions, battled daily to ensure that our economy survives.

That she panders to JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who was granted a quarantine exception by the government, telling reporters, “After all, it is a huge bank and it has important businesses in Hong Kong”, is a slap in the face of every small and medium-sized business leader, the true leaders of economic development in Hong Kong.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

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Pilots and crew at Cathay Pacific (and other airlines) are the lifeblood of our city. They bring us home. They bring us food. They have been working -” or not working ” in increasingly difficult conditions since the start of the pandemic, literally putting their own lives on the line pre-vaccine. Now they are putting their sanity on the line with the increasingly ludicrous government lock-ups.

This government has a lot to answer for and our officials may not be listening, but ordinary people should stand up and be counted too. Let’s all thank our brave Cathay pilots and crew and make sure they understand how much we appreciate what they do for our city.

Sarah Fairhurst, Tuen Mun

Perhaps someone within our illustrious administration can figure out how to have the QR code on the paper vaccination record that is handed out after the third jab reflect that one has had three jabs and which jab was received on which date.

At present, my QR code when scanned shows I had one vaccination dose in April (in fact my second, although that is not indicated) and the other in November (my third but not indicated as such). So for the next few days it will look like I am within 14 days of my second jab when in fact I have had three jabs. If the “Leave Home Safe” app uses this QR code, then it shows only two doses and no indication of whether it is the first, second or third dose.

The vaccination programme hotline says it is not their problem and if one calls eHealth, they say it is the vaccination programme that handles this.

The eHealth app does at least show the correct vaccination dates and doses but only after some work to update the records within the eHealth app.

Please fix this.

T.J. Bardwell, Lantau

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia. For more SCMP stories, please download our mobile app, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Copyright (c) 2021. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.