In response to the local new crown epidemic gradually stabilizing, the Center for Health Protection has suspended the daily "430" epidemic press conference since yesterday (25th). Zhang Zhujun, director of the infectious disease department who has long chaired the press conference, expressed his gratitude to the public in the "Grand Finale" the day before yesterday (25th). After more than years of patience and cooperation, I hope the public will continue to persevere and work hard, and hope to return to a more normal life soon.
What is reflected behind the suspension of the 430 press conference is that the government's overall epidemic prevention thinking has changed. The number of confirmed cases is no longer the focus of the local epidemic, and it is necessary to turn to targeted and accurate epidemic prevention.
The question is, how should the epidemic prevention government continue?
According to the analysis of people in the political circle, the government may wish to study and adjust the epidemic prevention measures in five directions, so as to truly move towards a return to normal.
▼The final chapter of the 430 press conference on September 24▼
"Partial coexistence" under desperation
The Li Jiachao government has repeatedly emphasized that it will not "lie flat" in epidemic prevention, but at the same time, it will never turn back, and it needs to lead Hong Kong to return to normal.
With Hong Kong clearly lagging behind its rival Singapore, the government has further relaxed the quarantine arrangement from "3+4" to "0+3".
In fact, everyone with a clear mind knows that this is because the government understands that Hong Kong cannot always cut off its external relations indefinitely. It must integrate with international standards as soon as possible, and it must more or less accept certain characteristics of "virus coexistence" in foreign countries. Correctness will not be publicly stated.
Zhang Zhujun mentioned yesterday that there is very little chance of confirmed cases returning to zero. The current situation seems to be that the new crown epidemic will "coexist with everyone", and he has "explained it well".
Because of this, after the government announced the "0+3" quarantine arrangement last Friday, social media immediately "reported" the remarks made by the director of the Medical and Health Bureau, Lu Chongmao, before he took office in February this year, "to coexist with the virus is to go to Huangquan together." , questioned that his foreword was incorrect, and got hit with a "boomerang".
Of course, this is just a harmless joke, but it is indeed reflected in the overall thinking of epidemic prevention. It has always been difficult for Hong Kong to copy a set of "dynamic zeroes" in the mainland.
However, there are also people in the guild who believe that "this time and the other", the situation in February was completely different from today. At that time, vaccination and the medical system were not enough. In fact, the fifth wave of the epidemic also killed 9,000 people.
In response to the "Huangquan Theory" on the TV program yesterday, Lu Chongmao also pointed out that there are indeed many elderly people who died after contracting the epidemic. "You can ask where the more than 9,000 people have gone now."
There are many restrictions on the business of catering establishments, and the industry, experts and politicians have expressed their hope that they will be relaxed as soon as possible.
Political and business circles, experts look forward to relaxing restrictions on premises business
After the relaxation of quarantine arrangements to the outside world, apart from when the government will further relax the quarantine arrangement to "0+0", another focus is whether the domestic epidemic prevention policy can keep up.
It must be known that even if the external quarantine is eased, there will still be many restrictions on tourists after arriving in Hong Kong, which will not help attract overseas people to Hong Kong, and will also greatly damage the local business environment.
Five catering business associations also jointly signed a letter to Li Jiachao and Lu Chongmao yesterday, asking the authorities to relax social distancing measures, including the current maximum of 8 people per restaurant in restaurants, to 12 people per set; cancel the maximum number of banquets of 120 people; cancel Restrictions from business hours to early morning, etc.
Leung Pak-yin, the former chief executive of the Hospital Authority, also made it clear on social media yesterday that if social distancing and restaurant epidemic prevention restrictions are not relaxed as soon as possible, there will be sequelae.
"Most of the tourists visiting Hong Kong are short-distance tourists. If they cannot go to restaurants or other places of consumption, the attractiveness of visiting Hong Kong will be greatly reduced. Due to the fatigue of fighting the epidemic, Hong Kong citizens will leave Hong Kong for revenge tourism. The number of people in Hong Kong will decrease, and if there are no tourists in Hong Kong to make up for this shortfall, retail restaurants and other restaurants will suffer even worse, and it will be very difficult to operate.”
Member of the Legislative Council Election Committee, Jiang Yuhuan, also posted on the social network with the title "Tsim Sha Tsui on Saturday night", lamenting that Tsim Sha Tsui, which used to be crowded with people on weekend nights, has now become "what restaurants have to implement has been implemented, and what has not been implemented has been implemented. "Shut down," he said bluntly in disbelief. For example, he pointed to the government's requirement to isolate close contacts, limit the number of people at wedding banquets, and mandatory testing. These anti-epidemic measures are both disturbing to the people and detrimental to business. We hope the government will listen carefully to the voices of the people before formulating any policies.
Whether forced inspections are still necessary in the future is questionable.
The anti-epidemic has entered a new stage, forced inspection and announcement of confirmed buildings are unnecessary?
The 430 press conference was called off, and the symbolic meaning behind it was actually quite large.
Huang Jielong, chairman and chief executive officer of Xufulou Group, pointed out in a post: "Don't look down on the official cancellation of the press conference on the epidemic today (by: Sunday). This signal is very important, and it means that the epidemic should not be dreamed about every day. , it's time to move on."
Chen Kaixin, a former political assistant to the Food and Health Bureau and a member of the Legislative Council Election Committee, said that the government has greatly relaxed quarantine arrangements and called off the 430 press conference in the past weekend, showing that Hong Kong's epidemic prevention has entered a new stage.
"When there are 430 press conferences every day, people will focus on how many people have been diagnosed, and other information is less important. But today, some numbers are more important, including severe illness, death, vaccination rates and hospitals. bed occupancy.”
Now that the number of new confirmed cases is no longer the most important, the significance of some existing policy measures, such as mandatory testing and daily announcement of confirmed buildings, has become questionable.
Among them, the former is subdivided into two types: the announcement of compulsory inspection of designated buildings and the “restricted area” (commonly known as the forced inspection of enclosed buildings).
In terms of enclosure and forced inspection, the last time the government enforced it was on September 13 (for Wo Shun Building, Fung Wo Village, Shatin). The mandatory testing announcement is still updated daily by the government, requiring citizens who have been in a designated location for more than two hours at a specific time to complete the test within a two-day time limit. If they do not comply, they will be fined.
He Bailiang, director of the Center for Infection and Infectious Diseases of the University of Hong Kong, criticized on a radio program earlier that the government has allowed the confirmed patients to be isolated at home, but at the same time it has implemented a mandatory inspection announcement. Exacerbated the anti-epidemic fatigue of citizens.
As for the confirmed buildings, if the government no longer regards the number of confirmed cases as the most important consideration, then it is not logically meaningful to announce any buildings that have been infected with the virus.
Lu Chongmao, director of the Medical and Health Bureau.
Chen Kaixin: It can be adjusted gradually according to scientific data, but it should not be rushed
Chen Kaixin pointed out that although the importance of the number of confirmed cases has declined, it still has a certain reference value at present to prevent the rapid expansion of the number, which in turn pushes up the number of severe cases and deaths; while mandatory testing is to prevent citizens from making random checks knowing that they are infected and not reporting them, " It is impossible to remove them all at once, otherwise the number of confirmed cases may rise sharply in a short period of time, and we must do it gradually, and I believe the government also hopes to handle it with caution.”
She believes that the government can gradually adjust whether the forced inspection measures are continued or the frequency of inspections based on scientific data. The core goal is to prevent the increase of severe cases and deaths, and to bring down the medical system, but it should not be too hasty, and always these measures Easy to put, hard to take.
What should really be considered at this stage are business restrictions on premises, visiting arrangements, and restrictions on gatherings in public places. Under what circumstances can they be relaxed, so as to prepare for the return of society to normal in the future.
As for the confirmed building, Chen Kaixin believes that it is harmless. Citizens may also be interested in knowing whether anyone in the building they live in is infected, but if the government thinks that resources should be placed elsewhere, it may not be a problem if the confirmed building is not carefully announced.
Tian Beichen: Forced inspection has no practical effect, advocating centralized prevention of severe death
Tian Beichen of the Roundtable on Actual Politics pointed out that among the current daily confirmed cases, the ratio of self-declaration through the rapid test and cases found by the government through forced inspection is about 2 to 1, that is, two-thirds of the cases come from the rapid test and self-declaration, regardless of the confirmed cases. The number of cases, this ratio has not changed significantly, to a certain extent, it shows that Hong Kong people are "good at public morality", and the situation of knowingly diagnosed but not reporting is not as serious as imagined.
Based on this rough analysis, if mandatory testing measures are lifted, about one-third more patients will spread the virus in the community every day.
Tian Beichen pointed out that if it is from the perspective of controlling the diagnosis and preventing the spread, it will definitely think that the forced inspection is necessary; but if it is from the perspective of preventing severe cases and deaths, the forced inspection is not necessary.
He personally believes that, in fact, the government has canceled the 430 press conference, and has hinted that the government is currently inclined to the latter: "Actually, this is also paving the way for the next step of quarantine '0+0'. In short, no matter how many people are diagnosed, it is good, to live a normal life in Hong Kong, just It is enough to get all injections to ensure that you don’t die after contracting the virus, and don’t bring down Hong Kong’s medical system. I also agree with this view. The forced inspection itself is very disturbing to the people, but it can’t prevent serious illness and death in a targeted manner. It’s nothing. practical utility."
He also pointed out that social distancing measures, especially restrictions on business premises, must be relaxed in a timely manner. Otherwise, when citizens travel abroad, but they cannot attract foreigners to come to Hong Kong for consumption, the local market will be greatly damaged.
The Medical and Health Bureau responded to the inquiry that the government will, as always, continue to prevent and control the epidemic in accordance with the development of the global and local epidemics and the above-mentioned policies, and adjust the anti-epidemic measures in a timely and appropriate manner, so as to achieve the greatest anti-epidemic effect at the lowest social cost.
Zhang Zhujun and Ou Jiarong's 430 press conference today said goodbye to the fifth wave, which has lasted for more than 8 months. The press conference will be suspended again from Sunday to replace Zhang Zhujun with a press release. Ou Jiarong returned to the background Zhang Zhujun said goodbye to the citizens for their patience and continued efforts: The new crown disease may coexist with us