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Saturday, Dec 05, 2020

Coronavirus can kill: why breaking quarantine is selfish and deadly uncool

Coronavirus can kill: why breaking quarantine is selfish and deadly uncool

As Hong Kong experiences a second wave of coronavirus infections, those returning to the city from abroad must act in the interests of the wider community and stay home

Hong Kong has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases after the influx of students and others returning from abroad over the past week (“Critical phase looms as Hong Kong escalates coronavirus response”, March 21).

Youngsters studying abroad and people who were travelling overseas definitely have a right to fly back to Hong Kong, but one can’t simply ignore the fact that many returnees are those who fled the city when Asia was struck by the virus and, now that European countries are being ravaged by it, they choose to rush back to Hong Kong.

What is even more irksome is that many of these returnees have been selfishly breaking quarantine, thus increasing the risk for the entire community. It is appalling that many youngsters deem it “cool” to be posting hacks on social media about how to take their wristbands off, how to exploit loopholes and break quarantine without the authorities knowing about it.

The same medical community that many people chose to malign and criticise over the hospital strikes, is working hard to contain the spread, test and treat people who have tested positive, apart from the other cases that they still have to handle. They are still going about their work patiently and diligently, despite being under tremendous pressure, selflessly serving the community.

Meanwhile, people who break quarantine are doing society, and particularly the medical community, a great disservice and undoing all the good work that is being done to contain the spread of the virus.

Public health concerns the wider population. While the risk to some individuals may be low, and socially mobile, “cool” people consider the inconvenience of mandatory quarantine measures stifling, respecting quarantine measures and the social contract will benefit the community as a whole.

An individual who doesn’t get very sick may, by breaking quarantine, infect others and some of those will no doubt end up in hospital, thus stretching the public health system even further.

To all those who have been asked to self-quarantine, please think about what you, as a responsible, socially conscious human being, owe the community at large – particularly those who are sick, immuno-compromised and older.

The pubs, shisha bars, gyms and the hot yoga routines can wait.


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