In the rest of China, the Government’s approach to dealing with Covid-19 involved brute force and a dodgy vaccine: “China fought the virus in Beijing, Xi’an, Tianjin and in Henan province by flooding the zone with testing, tightly restricting flights and mobility, and aggressively isolating those who tested positive, locking down whole cities when necessary. In Xi’an, the strict measures set off a flood of complaints on social media about lack of access to food, supplies and medical care — one pregnant woman was denied entrance to a hospital until she tested negative, and miscarried — but overall China’s methods stopped the spread. While many of China’s 1.4 billion people are vaccinated, preliminary reports suggest that its vaccines are not as protective against omicron. So China has relied on its rigid authoritarian system to erect walls against viral transmission.”

In Hong Kong this sort of authoritarianism is hitting its limits: “The highly transmissible variant has seeped through the cracks and taken hold. The virus has spread to dozens of senior care homes, where the elderly are especially vulnerable; among those over 70 years old, only 56 percent have had one vaccine dose. The territory’s case counts are skyrocketing, and its hospitals overwhelmed. The Post’s Shibani Mahtani and Theodora Yu found elderly patients lining up outside the Caritas Medical Center, and one patient who tested positive was isolated in a women’s bathroom.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has instructed Hong Kong’s government to prioritize controlling the virus “before anything else.” Advisers being sent from Beijing appear to be telling Chief Executive Carrie Lam to carry out citywide testing. They might seek more severe lockdowns, but that will run into resistance. Hong Kong’s people are more suspicious and distrustful of China since their liberties were so brazenly taken away. There aren’t many good options to slow the spread at this point, and if the virus is not extinguished in Hong Kong, it could spark outbreaks on the mainland.”


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