With the outbreak of the corona virus, how has life in Hong Kong has been disrupted? And is it just a typhoon in a tea cup or the end of the world as we know it?
2020, Year of the Rat has not started Brilliantly
After months of protests in Hong Kong, just as things were feeling a little calmer with hope on the horizon, the Coronavirus broke out.
School is closed for a month. For now.
The scars of the 2003 SARS outbreak in Hong Kong have left people jittery.
Masks are like gold dust. One night saw 10,000 people queuing through the night to try to secure some. There is a whole black market racket with reused masks being packaged up and sold to unsuspecting customers. Prices are shooting through the roof. Insanity.
One or two small bombs have gone off. Scary.
Medical workers have been striking. Worrying.
The supermarket shelves have been looking bare. Concerning.
Social Media is Going Bananas
As well as mask mania, calls to close the border and daily updates on infections and deaths, there are many questions.
Questions include: “Should my dog wear a mask?” and “If a package arrives, how long should I quarantine it before opening?” or “Will schools extend the school year into the summer holidays?”
The dog question sounds a bit daft at first glance, but actually it’s a fair question. I believe the answer is no, pets don’t need face masks. The package? Again, not an unfair question. I guess if you’re not sure you can spray it with disinfectant.
In the meantime there has been a run on loo roll and tissues, seemingly sparked by an online rumour of shortages. There are also now reports of packages from overseas being opened and masks being stolen?
You’ve always got to look for the positives.
We’ve had an interesting science lesson on hand washing. It’s visual, simple and impressive. I would say that as a result hand washing enthusiasm and technique has improved. This video demonstration explains it beautifully.
Youngest has finally learned how to tie his own tie.
Having dealt with SARS Hong Kongers know the drill. The streets are definitely emptier and those who can are staying close to home. Hand sanitiser and masks (where available) are used vigorously and other advice such as pouring water down your bathroom floor drains, flushing the loo with the lid shut, disinfecting/washing clothes and shoes that have been outside or hanging them out in the sunlight are all measures being adopted.
We have weeks and weeks of quality time together.
For Now We are the Lucky Ones
We’re bored and unsettled, but there are so many small businesses that have already taken months of financial hammering during the unrest. Some have folded already, many more surely will as tourists stay away and locals hole up at home.
Hong Kong is a densely populated city so the advice to ‘stay away from crowds’ is virtually impossible for the average Joe on the street. Travelling from a small crowded apartment to work on busy public transport and home again is the only option.
Small kitchens and limited storage can make stockpiling food awkward. And if you’re income drops how do you afford to keep feeding yourself?
And of course people have fallen ill. People have died. And for now no-one is truly sure of how long this will go on for and how many it will affect.
Holding Our Breath
So is it just a typhoon in a teacup? I suspect the people of Wuhan don’t think so. Hong Kong is holding its breath to see which way the wind blows.