🌊 Free Tide: COVID-19 pandemic damaging children's eyesight
Nearsightedness in children, Vitasoy collecting personal information, children's book authors accused of sedition, and more...
Hey everyone! Today’s first story hits a little closer to home given my experience at Zoom University last year. That being said, I also would rather not be constantly walking across campus to get to class…
~ Sze Yu
CUHK study finds higher rates of nearsightedness in school-aged children
CUHK researchers found that the proportion of Hong Kong children who develop nearsightedness has increased an estimated 2.5 times during the coronavirus pandemic(paywalled). This ‘myopia boom‘ is likely linked to the longer periods of time that children are spending looking at screens.
During the pandemic, schoolchildren spent an average of almost seven hours a day looking at screens—a four hour increase from pre-pandemic data. The average amount of time spent outdoors also plummeted from 12.7 hours a day to 24 minutes. Lead researcher Dr Jason Yam Cheuk-sing said insufficient outdoor activities and long stretches of reading, writing and using electronic gadgets corresponded with myopia progression.
Yam suggested all children to go outdoors for at least 2 hours a day to gain more exposure to sunlight. “It can help slow down myopia progression by 30 per cent,” he said.
Coronavirus in Hong Kong
New cases: 3 (imported)
Total cases: 12,111 cases so far (113 active cases, 212 total deaths, 11,786 total recovered)
Manila flight suspensions
The Hong Kong government has suspended Philippine Airlines flights from Manila for two weeks. The move comes just after authorities began allowing Filipino and Indonesian domestic workers back into the city on Monday—fully vaccinated foreign domestic workers from the two countries may now work in the city after undergoing 21 days of quarantine.
Turkish airlines flights from Istanbul have also been suspended after three passengers tested positive on flights by each airline last Friday.
Vitasoy to conduct background checks on employees and their families
Beverage company Vitasoy is planning to collect personal information on its workers and their family members. According to Stand News, employees were asked to sign a form agreeing to share information on themselves and family members including background checks and involvement with other organisations.
Vitasoy claims that the new policy is designed to facilitate a computer system upgrade, however many suspect that it is related to former Vitasoy employee Leung Kin-fai, the man who committed suicide after stabbing a police officer in July.
To read what Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions Chief Executive Mung Siu-tat had to say on Vitasoy’s plans, subscribe to High Tide!
Children’s book authors denied bail after NSL accusations
Three of the five authors arrested over their publication of ‘seditious‘ children’s cartoon books have been charged, and all five have been denied bail. The three books in question—Guardians of the Sheep Village, 12 Warriors of the Sheep Village, and Dustman of the Sheep Village—allegedly intended to “bring into hatred of contempt or to excite disaffection” against the Hong Kong government.
PolyU protestor faces up to 7 years in jail (paywalled) over charges related to the PolyU siege 2 years ago. 18-year-old Chia Kwan-sin pled guilty to rioting on Monday. Police have agreed to drop three other charges given the guilty plea.
Vigilante YouTuber arrested after posting clip of confrontation with suspected pedophile (paywalled). The social media influencer known as Rock Gor and his assistant have been arrested over unlawful detention. Their 23-year-old has also been arrested on suspicion of possession of child pornography.
Ming Pao reports that a senior Chinese Foreign Ministry official was the guest of honour at a controversial hotpot dinner attended by top Hong Kong security officials. The private luxury dinner flaunted COVID-19 social distancing regulations, sparking accusations of differential treatment.
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