Hong Kong’s commitment to covid zero has been laid bare in a new propaganda video showing schoolgirls wearing double face masks while playing the flute.
The video, which was released by the Hong Kong Education Bureau ahead of China’s National Day on October 1, has been ridiculed online.
More than 400 schoolchildren were invited to participate in the five-minute-long spot titled ‘Young China Says’, which shows them engaging in a variety of artistic activities, from singing to martial arts, all while wearing face masks.
At the 45-second mark, the video shows two schoolgirls wearing cumbersome double masks that have a gap for their mouths and a secondary flap that covers their flutes.
Social media users expressed their bewilderment online, with South China Morning Post correspondent Jeffie Lam writing, “This city never ceases to amaze me,” along with the hashtag #maskingtilltheendoftheworld.
The video release came as Hong Kong announced earlier this week that Covid restrictions, including social distancing, the wearing of masks in public places and digital health codes for entering public places, would remain in place for at least another two weeks.
The Hong Kong Bureau of Education has been mocked online for forcing schoolgirls to wear double masks while playing the flute in a new propaganda video.
Despite trying to follow China’s lead in the zero-Covid goal, Hong Kong has had a much harder time than the mainland in trying to contain the virus.
Like China, Singapore, New Zealand and Taiwan, Hong Kong’s travel restrictions helped stamp out the virus in 2020 as the pandemic left a wave of deaths across much of the rest of the world.
But as an international hub, Hong Kong struggled to keep the virus out indefinitely and was unable to implement the kind of city-wide lockdowns used on the authoritarian mainland.
The Omicron variant laid waste to most of the unvaccinated elderly victims, overwhelming hospitals that were not adequately prepared.
Despite strict travel restrictions and social distancing rules, Hong Kong had one of the highest death rates per capita in the world, with almost 10,000 deaths in a population of 7.4 million.
The ad shows schoolchildren, all wearing masks, engaging in a variety of artistic activities, from calligraphy to martial arts.
The video was released by the Hong Kong Education Bureau ahead of China’s National Day on October 1.
And the tough restrictions have had a significant impact on Hong Kong’s economy, with the city currently in a technical recession: two consecutive quarters of negative growth.
Finance chief Paul Chan warned that Hong Kong’s fiscal deficit is expected to rise to HK$100 billion ($12.7 billion) this year, double initial estimates.
But people in Hong Kong saw a glimmer of hope from the easing of Covid restrictions yesterday when the city finally announced it would end a hotel quarantine that has battered the economy and kept the financial hub internationally isolated.
The long-awaited move brings relief to residents and businesses clamoring for the city to join the rest of the world in resuming unhindered travel and living with Covid-19.
The announcement leaves mainland China as the only major economy still in a lengthy lockdown for international arrivals.
Chief Executive John Lee said the current three-day quarantine at the hotel would be reduced to zero for those arriving from abroad.
Yesterday, Hong Kong finally announced that it would end the hotel quarantine that has battered the economy and kept the financial center isolated internationally.
Chief Executive John Lee (pictured yesterday) said the current three-day quarantine at the hotel would be reduced to zero for those arriving from abroad.
From September 26, travelers will be subject to PCR tests on arrival and will not be able to visit restaurants and bars for the first three days under a system that the authorities have called ‘0+3’.
“According to this agreement, the quarantine hotel system will be cancelled,” Lee told reporters.
Those arriving abroad will also need further PCR tests on days two, four and six in the city.
Tourists who test positive face being isolated in hotel rooms at their own expense. Most residents can self-isolate at home, but those who can’t may be sent to government facilities.
Authorities also said they were removing quotas on arrivals from mainland China, but those going in the opposite direction must still quarantine under Beijing’s strict zero-Covid rules.