🌊Social Distancing Loosening!
"IT'S NOT A U-TURN" Carrie Lam probably
Instead of having this read over breakfast, maybe today you’re reading it over lunch which is also pretty cool.
Is there a reason for this? No, not really.
My bad, here’s another cute squirrel. Hell take three.
~ Cyril (who has bad control of his timetable)
On Today’s Tide:
Loosening of all travel restrictions
Roadmap for normality
Compulsory testing scrapped
Economy | Large inflation in Feb due to COVID
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COVID in HK
Coronavirus in Hong Kong
New cases: 14,063
Total cases: 1,061,758
New deaths: 223 (44 backlog)
Total deaths: 6119
New cases and deaths are both on a very quick downward trend, CE Carrie Lam made this clear in yesterday morning’s press conference too. That’s good news becauuuuseeee….
Starting 1 Apr, COVID regulations will slowly loosen, starting with flight bans, followed by face to face school resumption, then gradually opening back up over the course of three months.
April 1: Flight bans scrapped
Flight bans from A+ Category countries scrapped (in fact the whole categorisation has been scrapped). Carrie Lam said this was because the state of COVID in those places were “no longer worse than Hong Kong”.
However, those coming back will still have to quarantine in a hotel, albeit only a mandatory 7 days instead of 14. You are allowed to leave the hotel after day 7 for self-monitoring where you are not confined to a location, but will still need to do tests. You can also choose to stay in the hotel until day 14. If you test positive while in the hotel, you’ll be transferred to designated quarantine hotel.
April 19: School Resumption
Schools will be allowed to gradually resume in-person teaching, starting with international schools, primary schools and kindergartens. Non-international secondary schools will resume classes after exams.
April 21: Relaxation stage 1
Social gathering limit increase from 2 → 4
Restaurants allowed to open again till 10
Cap 599F premises (e.g. beauty parlours, gyms, clubs, LCSD museums and performance venues etc) will be allowed to re-open except bars.
Relaxation Stage 2 (no date)
Social gathering limit increase from 4 → 8
Bars, beaches, pools re-open
No need to wear masks when doing exercise or hiking (Why is this relaxed later than restaurants and museums? Don’t ask, just be happy)
Relaxation Stage 3 (no date)
No details but the gov says they’ll probably relax more stuff and keep basic anti-epidemic measures (e.g. masks, Leave Home Safe etc).
In her press conference, CE Carrie Lam made this clear that these measures (especially the flight ban) are not U-turns but a refinement of her current policies.
No Compulsory Testing (for now)
The government also announced yesterday a temporary shelving of the compulsory universal testing plan, citing a lack of resources and bad timing.
Carrie Lam said "I've heard from many people ... 'you can do it if you try hard enough' and claims we can test everybody thrice in a week. But after a comprehensive review, simulations and evaluation of each and every step we found it's not that simple."
I don’t know who said that to her.
The plan originally announced in February led to panic buying and a mass exit from the city, primarily among expats (I was jokingly calling this dodging the draft, although it’s not really all that funny).
Lawmakers couldn’t agree on whether this was good. Some politicians said the government is wasting resources from the Mainland by scrapping testing, while others argued the decision is the best for business.
Michael Tien from Roundtable however, noted that it won’t be possible to re-open with the Mainland before universal testing is done.
Vegetables caused inflation
According to the CSD’s latest Consumer Price Index statistics, overall inflation went up 1.6% in Feb primarily due to the price of fresh vegetables which tripled in that month.
This was primarily because lots of cross border truck drivers either caught COVID, or were close contacts leading to an overall lack of fresh supply.
In recent weeks, the Mainland and HK governments have been working together to ensure supplies continue, so prices have more or less stabilised.
Look at this cool chart I found!
Events and deals
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10% off the Cellar: La Cabane x Harbour Times
Our friends over at La Cabane have kindly given all High Tide subscribers 10% off everything on their online store - high quality wines, cheeses and wines-and-cheeses accessories.
Use the code HIGHONWINE10 at www.lacabane.hk to stock up your wine cellar today.
HKU COVID and Mental Health Survey
Wanna become a statistic? I sure do! HKU is running a voluntary online mental health survey till April, trying to find if there is any (yes) relationship between COVID and HK’s mental health problems.
Supporting Ukraine from the comfort of your couch
This isn’t really an event per se, but we thought our very internationally-minded audience might be wondering how to get involved with humanitarian efforts. Luckily, you can literally do it by drinking beer, eating good Ukrainian food and calling our good friends at the Polish Consulate General.
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