HK lockdown: anger and confusion over looming Covid-19 restrictions, but to some, move is ‘better than nothing’

25-Jan-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The plan to impose a lockdown on parts of Hong Kong’s coronavirus-hit Yau Tsim Mong district from Saturday morning has caught residents unprepared, with some supporting the move and others doubting its effectiveness.

While there was no sign of people stocking up on food and supplies till about early afternoon on Friday, residents and workers in the area said they were not sure to what extent the lockdown would curtail their movements as there had not been any official announcement yet.

Around 150 residential buildings in Yau Tsim Mong district will be targeted by the lockdown. Photo: Dickson Lee

Around 150 residential buildings in Yau Tsim Mong district will be targeted by the lockdown. Photo: Dickson Lee

Chan Wing-tai, 63, who lives in a building on Woosung Street, was angry at the sudden news and said the lockdown would only cause more panic.

Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.

“Hong Kong is not like mainland China, where tough lockdown measures can be easily carried out,” he said.

Chan said the measure would have a huge impact on both residents and businesses, and the government should have given people time to prepare for it physically and mentally. Instead of closing off the whole area, he suggested authorities lock down affected buildings one by one to minimise the impact on people’s lives.

K.K. Lee, 40, an air conditioner mechanic, was sceptical the move would control the outbreak in the city as the virus might also spread outside the district.

The Jordan resident said it would be more effective to lock down all of Hong Kong rather than targeting one district.

“It is of no use and unfair to only target one area. If the measure is aimed at bringing the pandemic to an end, the whole city should be locked down,” he said.

A source said around 150 residential buildings in the district would be targeted by the measure, which was expected to begin on Saturday morning, affecting between 4,000 and 9,000 residents.

Three types of people will be allowed to enter the area residents, relatives staying in the same flat as those in need of care, and staff members engaged in essential services such as elderly care.

Only residents able to produce negative Covid-19 test results will be allowed to leave their buildings, and none should leave the area until the restriction is lifted. Exemptions will be made only for residents with medical needs or those facing unforeseen hardship.

Shops in the designated areas will also remain closed.

But in spite of some residents’ scepticism, others supported the move.

One 62-year-old man, who asked to be identified only by his surname, Wong, said he travelled from his home in Diamond Hill to Jordan every day to work in a department store.

While he was worried the lockdown would affect his income, as the store would be closed, he had grown concerned about his contact with people at his workplace who refused to wear masks properly, especially after the district with its many crowded, ageing buildings was hit by the outbreak.

Despite the impact of the lockdown on his work, Wong said he supported it.

“The measure is already too late to control the pandemic, but it is still better than nothing,” he said.

He also said he was worried that some residents would leave the area on Friday before the lockdown took effect, taking advantage of an apparent loophole.

A young couple was seen leaving an old tenement building on Shanghai Street with a suitcase at about 2pm on Friday. The man said they decided to leave the area after learning about the lockdown.

Luk, who lives in Jordan and also asked to be identified only by his surname, said he supported the lockdown as he believed it could finally help to put a lid on rising infections.

“The pandemic has dragged on for too long. It is time to take tough measures to deal with it,” said the retired jeweller in his 60s.

Luk said his concerns had grown with every passing day, and he hoped the lockdown would put the outbreak in the area under control, even if that meant a temporary inconvenience.

“I know the lockdown will affect my life, but I don’t think we have better options at the moment,” he said.

Another Jordan resident, Leung, 46, who works in a noodle restaurant in the area, also supported the restrictions. She said the business of the restaurant, with only three diners inside at lunchtime on Friday, had already dropped by about 90 per cent amid the pandemic, and the lockdown would hit the business even further.

Still, she felt the move was necessary to curb the spread of the virus in Hong Kong.

“As long as the measure can help to control the pandemic, I think it would be worth it,” she said.



Category: Hong Kong

Print This Post

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.