JOANNE PANG WRITES FROM HONG KONG CHINA – Ah, you ask about the lovely coronavirus pandemic that has made millennials insanely and basically harmlessly obsessed with TikTok to a whole other level? Hong Kong seems to tell a different tale.
As COVID-19 began to strike the West (UK and US), and everything went from not just crazy to insane, Hong Kong was actually stabilizing. Cases held steady at around 100+, with little to no new ones. Then, when news broke that all the US and UK universities would close down and kick out all on-campus residents, Hong Kong re-entered the world of chaos. Returning overseas students were bringing the virus back to the city.
Now, fear has re-entered the hearts of every citizen, and more quarantine restrictions have been put in place. All returnees have to go through a mandatory quarantine, identified by geo-signal monitoring ankle bracelets. A nighttime alcohol ban has been issued because people, for some reason, still wanted to socialize in the club and bar districts (despite the pandemic!), and the Filipino bands who perform live music at some of the venues tested positive, so now all the bars are losing money. In addition, starting March 29, Hong Kong will close fitness and other recreational gatherings as well as public facilities for two weeks, and no party of more than four will be allowed to gather outside of their homes.
Besides young college returnees bringing back the virus, there was an additionally big problem: Local students refused to be confined -that is, those who identify Cantonese as their first language and attend a local secondary school, with Hong Kong culture as their upbringing. Some cut their quarantine bracelets as a way to defy the government and “support” their anti-government movement, created in late 2019. These idiots, who are even more airheaded than Miami spring-breakers, posted a bunch of stories about themselves on Instagram, showing how they cut the bracelets and roamed around town, ignoring the consequences. Little did they know, though, that the consequences would come. Now, violators have to pay a fine as well as wind up on an extended periods of quarantine, also known as jail, for six months! (Minors go to detention centers).
In the end, locals, including parents of the lawbreakers and international citizens alike, came together, following the 2019 COVID-19 wave, so as to bring back peace and safety – and put a stop to this dangerous nonsense. They managed to put aside their political differences. And as many have said, for once, Chief Executive Carrie Lam truly did one thing right that appealed to all of Hong Kong: Show no mercy to the rulebreakers. Keep Hong Kong safe. Prevent the pandemic from further spreading throughout Hong Kong.