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Anjani Trivedi

Hong Kong’s Covid Strategy Has Failed. Miserably

It’s impossible to keep the virus outside the territory’s borders. Time for authorities to admit the folly of this premise and develop a real plan for moving on. 

Even playgrounds are off limits.

Even playgrounds are off limits.

Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg

Hong Kong’s veneer of normalcy has been shattered — and it’s exposed just how misguided and unrealistic the territory’s Covid-19 containment strategy has become two years into the pandemic.

After months of no local Covid infections, Hong Kong reported a string of positive cases over the past week. The territory’s so-called fifth wave was set off by an aircrew employee who didn’t fully comply with his medical surveillance rules — a special concession for airlines. He went to a restaurant for lunch and it quickly spread from there. Several senior government officials, including the territory’s police chief, immigration head and financial services secretary, were ordered into quarantine after attending a birthday party that flouted warnings to avoid large gatherings.