• Même à partir de Hongkong, les voyages d’affaires en Chine restent des parcours du combattant
    https://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2022/11/14/meme-a-partir-de-hongkong-les-voyages-d-affaires-en-chine-restent-des-parcou

    Même à partir de Hongkong, les voyages d’affaires en Chine restent des parcours du combattant
    La Chine a beau annoncer que ses portes sont « grandes ouvertes », et avoir réduit de 2 jours la quarantaine d’entrée, vendredi 11 novembre, les conditions d’accès au pays restent compliquées voire ubuesques pour ceux, étrangers comme Chinois, qui tentent le voyage.
    « N’oublie pas de prendre draps, oreiller, serviettes de toilette, bouilloire électrique (très important), des réserves (chocolat, thé, snacks…), et du frais pour les premiers jours », avait-on conseillé à Paul H., un homme d’affaires occidental qui n’a pas souhaité être identifié, installé à Hongkong depuis vingt ans. Très familier des voyages en Chine, plutôt dans les meilleurs hôtels internationaux des principales grandes villes, il n’y était pas retourné depuis presque trois ans, et avait été ainsi conseillé par un ami qui en revenait.Car, depuis que « la Chine a rouvert », ceux qui y vont, pleins d’enthousiasme à l’idée de pouvoir « enfin revoir leurs équipes », reviennent un peu sous le choc des parcours d’obstacles que sont devenus les voyages en Chine continentale. L’époque pré-Covid-19 des « sauts de puce », où, à partir de Hongkong, on enchaînait en quarante-huit heures réunions, visites d’usines et soirées avec les clients dans plusieurs villes, est un lointain souvenir. Tout comme les allers-retours Hongkong-Shanghaï, qui pouvaient se faire sur la journée, ou les visites à Shenzhen, qu’un train rapide relie à Hongkong en dix-neuf minutes depuis 2018…
    Dix-neuf minutes de train, c’est rapide, sauf qu’il faut désormais ajouter à ce temps de transport plusieurs semaines d’attente pour gagner à la loterie qui donne le droit de traverser la frontière, et dix jours de quarantaine pour les visiteurs non-résidents… Alec L., qui travaille dans une grande entreprise d’électronique, s’était inscrit sur l’application en ligne prévue pour le tirage au sort des passages à Shenzhen, la ville frontière avec Hongkong. Il a enfin eu son jour de chance fin octobre. Mais, en arrivant à la frontière, il lui manquait le certificat écrit de l’un de ses tests anti-Covid.
    Retour à la case départ. « Je retente ma chance tous les jours. Ma valise est prête depuis deux mois maintenant, car les résultats tombent à 20 heures chaque jour, et l’autorisation peut être donnée pour le lendemain », raconte Alec. Aller en Chine en ce moment requiert donc patience, persévérance et même endurance. Si l’accès par avion, lui, ne requiert pas de loterie, les billets sont très rares. Et, pour Pékin, outre la fourniture des tests « habituels », il fallait aussi, jusqu’aux annonces d’assouplissement de vendredi 11 novembre, se tester dans les sept heures avant le décollage. Ce qui impliquait, pour les vols du matin, de passer la nuit à l’aéroport. Un seul test pré-voyage est désormais requis.
    Mais c’est à l’atterrissage que le périple se corse. Car toute arrivée en Chine – pour les étrangers, les Hongkongais ou les Chinois continentaux – commence par un minimum de sept jours en isolement complet, dans un lieu désigné par les autorités et attribué de manière aléatoire à la descente de l’avion. Au bout de sept jours, les personnes, Chinois ou résidents étrangers, qui ont un logement local attitré peuvent rentrer chez elles pour les trois jours supplémentaires d’isolement, sous réserve d’avoir obtenu l’accord préalable de la copropriété, ce qui est loin d’être automatique. Mais les autres, en voyage d’affaires, voient leur quarantaine prolongée de trois jours. Depuis vendredi, ce modèle 7+3 a été remplacé par « 5+3 », un allègement bienvenu qui ne lève pas pour autant nombre de risques et de désagréments.Après des formalités bien rodées, qui se font essentiellement de manière électronique, et une désinfection scrupuleuse des bagages, tous les passagers sont pris en charge. « On monte dans des bus sans savoir où l’on va, raconte une femme qui travaille dans la finance. On découvre à l’arrivée un immeuble neuf, à peine fini. On vous annonce alors trois tarifs, entre 35 et 60 euros par nuit. Mais les numéros de chambre sont ensuite distribués sans aucune prise en compte du prix payé par chacun. »
    Lors de son récent voyage à Pékin, elle s’est ainsi retrouvée dans un deux-pièces avec vue sur la grande muraille, un surclassement inattendu et bienvenu, deux mois après une première quarantaine à Shanghaï « nettement plus pénible ». Parmi les différents témoignages recueillis par Le Monde, un voyageur à Shanghaï mentionne des réveils répétés à 4 heures du matin par un tambourinage sur sa porte en vue du test quotidien, ainsi qu’une visite soudaine par des personnes en « combinaisons Hazmat intégrales, dont on ne croise même pas le regard », pour des prélèvements sur toutes les parois de la chambre, quelques jours avant la fin du séjour.
    « Maintenant, je conseille à ceux qui partent d’emporter des somnifères, des vitamines et des antidépresseurs », affirme un « revenant » de Chine. Depuis sa chambre de 10 m2, au 18e étage d’un immeuble neuf, également situé dans la grande banlieue de Pékin, Paul H. affirme pour sa part qu’il lui est impossible de faire le moindre exercice, faute d’espace pour bouger. Dans la petite salle d’eau, la douche est au-dessus des toilettes, et la seule serviette mise à disposition est de la taille d’un torchon de cuisine. Il faut débarrasser l’ordinateur de la minuscule table quand arrive le plateau-repas, ou manger sur ses genoux.
    Et cela, pendant dix jours, si tout va bien… Alors que toutes ses valises étaient prêtes, lundi 7 novembre, Paul a eu une mauvaise surprise : un cas potentiel avait été identifié dans une chambre située au-dessus ou en dessous de la sienne, partageant certaines tuyauteries d’eau ou d’air conditionné. Il était donc considéré « cas contact potentiel » et ne pouvait plus sortir. Son séjour n’a finalement été prolongé « que » de deux jours.
    Mais tout le monde n’est pas traité de la même façon, selon son « Guanxi », son réseau de relations. « A l’arrivée de l’avion, une berline est venue me chercher pour m’emmener directement au JW Marriott [un hôtel cinq étoiles] », raconte le patron d’une grande marque, qui reste vague sur la manière dont ce traitement de faveur a pu s’organiser. Les dirigeants dans les secteurs jugés stratégiques (électronique, alimentaire…) font normalement partie des nantis à qui les plus gros désagréments sont épargnés.
    Mais même une fois sur le terrain, le stress continue. « A tout moment, on peut être identifié cas contact, et là, on ne maîtrise plus », raconte un homme d’affaires. Lui-même a reçu un appel pendant une réunion, lui indiquant qu’il avait « sans doute croisé un cas contact dans le lobby de son hôtel ». « Par chance, je filais vers une autre province. Mais en arrivant à l’étape suivante, j’ai été contacté par les autorités locales, qui étaient déjà au courant… Quand on sent que l’étau se resserre, le mieux est de quitter la Chine au plus vite », conclut-il.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#hongkong#chine#sante#circulation#frontiere#zerocovid#depistage#cascontact#confinement#isolement#stress#santementale

  • Covid-19 : levée de la quarantaine obligatoire pour les arrivées à Hongkong
    https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2022/09/23/covid-19-levee-de-la-quarantaine-obligatoire-pour-les-arrivees-a-hongkong_61

    Covid-19 : levée de la quarantaine obligatoire pour les arrivées à Hongkong
    Les voyageurs vont toutefois devoir se soumettre à un test PCR à leur arrivée. La Chine est désormais la seule grande économie au monde à maintenir une longue période de quarantaine pour les arrivées internationales.
    Le Monde avec AFP
    Publié le 23 septembre 2022
    C’est la fin de plus de deux années et demi d’isolement international pour le centre financier. Hongkong va lever la quarantaine obligatoire à l’hôtel pour toute personne arrivant de l’étranger, a annoncé le chef de l’exécutif vendredi 23 septembre. « Le système des hôtels de quarantaine va être supprimé », a déclaré John Lee aux journalistes.Les voyageurs vont toutefois devoir se soumettre à un test PCR à leur arrivée, et ne seront pas autorisés à se rendre dans les bars et les restaurants pendant les trois premier jours. La décision, très attendue, va apporter un soulagement aux habitants et aux entreprises, qui réclamaient que la place financière asiatique suive la tendance mondiale en autorisant de nouveau les voyages sans contraintes.Hongkong a appliqué une version plus souple de la stratégie chinoise « zéro Covid », laquelle impose notamment de multiples confinements dès l’apparition de cas positifs et des tests PCR toutes les soixante-douze ou quarante-huit heures. Des mesures telles que la quarantaine obligatoire à l’hôtel pour les personnes arrivant de l’étranger – allant jusqu’à vingt et un jours –, ont été appliquées dans cette région administrative spéciale de Chine pendant toute la période de la pandémie. La Chine est désormais la seule grande économie au monde à maintenir une longue période de quarantaine pour les arrivées internationales.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#sante#hongkong#circulation#frontiere#quarantaine#zerocovid#test

  • Covid-19 : levée de la quarantaine obligatoire pour les arrivées à Hongkong
    https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2022/09/23/covid-19-levee-de-la-quarantaine-obligatoire-pour-les-arrivees-a-hongkong_61

    Covid-19 : levée de la quarantaine obligatoire pour les arrivées à Hongkong
    Les voyageurs vont toutefois devoir se soumettre à un test PCR à leur arrivée. La Chine est désormais la seule grande économie au monde à maintenir une longue période de quarantaine pour les arrivées internationales.
    Le Monde avec AFP
    Publié le 23 septembre 2022
    C’est la fin de plus de deux années et demi d’isolement international pour le centre financier. Hongkong va lever la quarantaine obligatoire à l’hôtel pour toute personne arrivant de l’étranger, a annoncé le chef de l’exécutif vendredi 23 septembre. « Le système des hôtels de quarantaine va être supprimé », a déclaré John Lee aux journalistes.Les voyageurs vont toutefois devoir se soumettre à un test PCR à leur arrivée, et ne seront pas autorisés à se rendre dans les bars et les restaurants pendant les trois premier jours. La décision, très attendue, va apporter un soulagement aux habitants et aux entreprises, qui réclamaient que la place financière asiatique suive la tendance mondiale en autorisant de nouveau les voyages sans contraintes.Hongkong a appliqué une version plus souple de la stratégie chinoise « zéro Covid », laquelle impose notamment de multiples confinements dès l’apparition de cas positifs et des tests PCR toutes les soixante-douze ou quarante-huit heures. Des mesures telles que la quarantaine obligatoire à l’hôtel pour les personnes arrivant de l’étranger – allant jusqu’à vingt et un jours –, ont été appliquées dans cette région administrative spéciale de Chine pendant toute la période de la pandémie. La Chine est désormais la seule grande économie au monde à maintenir une longue période de quarantaine pour les arrivées internationales.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#sante#hongkong#circulation#frontiere#quarantaine#zerocovid#test

  • Des syndicalistes se battent à Hong Kong

    Wong Wai-man, plus connu sous le nom d’Ah Man, avait l’habitude de transporter une pile de formulaires de demande d’adhésion à un syndicat dans son sac à dos, où qu’il aille. Après la grève historique des sidérurgistes en 2007, ce professionnel des poutres métalliques, âgé de 66 ans et doté d’une barbe blanche aussi fournie que celle d’Albus Dumbledore dans la série Harry Potter, a fondé un syndicat et a passé une grande partie de son temps à voyager entre les sites de construction pour persuader les travailleurs de le rejoindre.

    https://entreleslignesentrelesmots.wordpress.com/2022/09/19/des-syndicalistes-se-battent-a-hong-kong

    #international #hongkong

  • Macau shuts all casinos in bid to contain worsening Covid outbreak | Macau | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jul/11/macau-shuts-all-casinos-in-bid-to-contain-worsening-covid-outbreak
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/c9369f062f6b3f90b473e461e89b92180605d409/0_70_3500_2101/master/3500.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-ali

    Macau shuts all casinos in bid to contain worsening Covid outbreak
    More than 30 closed for a week – with extension thought likely – and dozens of city zones locked down in gambling hub. Macau has shut all its casinos for the first time in more than two years as authorities struggle to contain the worst coronavirus outbreak yet in the world’s biggest gambling hub.The city’s 30-plus casinos, along with other non-essential businesses, will shut for one week from Monday and people have been ordered to stay at home. Police would monitor flows of people outside, the government said, and stringent punishments would be imposed for those who disobeyed.Hospitals, pharmacies, supermarkets and fresh food markets are some of the essential services that can remain open.More than 30 zones in the city that have been deemed high risk are now under lockdown, meaning no one is allowed to enter or exit for at least five days. While the government said it was not imposing a citywide lockdown, the stringent measures mean Macau is effectively closed.Macau adheres to China’s “zero-Covid” policy that aims to stamp out all outbreaks, running counter to a global trend of trying to coexist with the virus.Casinos were last shut in Macau in February 2020 for 15 days.The government had previously been hesitant to close casinos due to its mandate to protect jobs. The industry employs most of the population directly or indirectly and accounts for more than 80% of government revenues.Casinos owned by Sands China, Wynn Macau, SJM Holdings, Galaxy Entertainment, Melco Resorts and MGM Resorts have been effectively shut for the past few weeks, with no gamblers and minimal staffing as per government requirements for people to work from home.Analysts said it was likely that the suspension could be extended by another few weeks, with a recovery in gaming revenue unlikely until the end of the third or fourth quarter.“Even if the outbreak in Macau gets under control, it will likely be another few weeks before Macau-Zhuhai can remove quarantine requirements,” said Terry Ng, an analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets in Hong Kong.Frustration is mounting at the government’s handling of the outbreak. Some residents have got into fights at testing centres while others have had to queue for more than 20 hours to access healthcare facilities.Residents will be required to take part in mass Covid tests four times this week as the government attempts to cut transmission chains.Residents have already been tested six times since mid June and are expected to do rapid antigen tests daily.More than 90% of Macau’s 600,000 residents are fully vaccinated against Covid but this is the first time the city has had to grapple with the fast-spreading Omicron variant.Authorities have added two hotels in popular casino resorts to be used as Covid medical facilities as they try to increase capacity to handle the surge of infections.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#chine#sante#macau#confinement#zerocovid#omicron#depistage#vaccination#quarantaine#hongkong#mobilite#frontiere#casino#economie

  • Covid-19 patients under home quarantine to wear tracking wristbands from July 15, Hong Kong health minister says; city logs 2,863 infections | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3184846/coronavirus-hong-kong-covid-19-app-update-will

    Covid-19 patients under home quarantine to wear tracking wristbands from July 15, Hong Kong health minister says; city logs 2,863 infections
    Health chief Professor Lo Chung-mau also says government is studying to turn part of seven-day hotel quarantine into home isolation. Lo earlier unveiled plans for online bookings for Covid tests for travellers heading to mainland China.All Covid-19 patients under home quarantine will be required to wear tracking wristbands starting from Friday, Hong Kong’s health minister has announced, while revealing the government is preparing for a worst-case scenario as infection numbers rebound.The new plans came as the city recorded 2,863 cases, including 252 imported ones. Seven additional deaths were reported. Hong Kong’s overall coronavirus tally stands at 1,273,663 infections, with 9,419 related fatalities.Secretary of Health Professor Lo Chung-mau also said the government was studying to turn part of the seven-day hotel quarantine for arrivals from overseas into home isolation, to be conducted in a closed-loop arrangement.Lo announced the measures hours after he unveiled plans to allow online bookings for Covid-19 tests for travellers heading to mainland China via the Shenzhen Bay Port and expand the screening quota, apologising for long queues after people earlier swamped the border crossing.To tackle a backlog of nucleic acid tests at the border checkpoint, Lo said a booking system would be able to process 400 people per hour, with a peak of 500. He said the maximum daily capacity for tests would be raised to 2,500 from 1,300 with the company conducting them more than doubling screening machines from 23 to 47.“On Sunday morning, within three hours, about 1,200 people were crossing at the same time, so this created long queues,” Lo said. Shenzhen Bay Port, one of just two land passenger crossings that remain open amid the pandemic, was packed with crowds over the weekend after the Guangdong provincial city boosted the number of quarantine hotel rooms by 700 to 2,000 a day and added more spots for those in need.Earlier in the day, Lo shed some light on planned updates to the “Leave Home Safe” app, saying the aim was to enforce quarantine orders for those at home, adding that currently there was no way to ensure infected residents could not visit high-risk locations such as restaurants, hospitals and care homes.
    Lo, who first revealed officials were considering adjusting the “Leave Home Safe” app to require real-name registration a day earlier, stressed authorities were primarily considering a red health code for those who were found to be positive in nucleic acid tests, while real-name registration would make it easier to quarantine those infected.He also said a yellow health code, for example, could be used for overseas arrivals who were quarantining at home, as potentially they could be infected with Covid-19.
    “These are people who shouldn’t enter high-risk locations but can go to work point to point,” he said. Macau closes the Grand Lisboa, the first casino shuttered in the Covid-19 pandemicThe mainland uses a three-colour system, which indicates a person’s Covid-19 status via QR codes.
    The mainland’s health code app is used to track and contain patients by providing central authorities with user data such as locations, times and personal interactions.The QR codes generated follow a traffic-light system, with the colours affecting where residents can go and how they are treated: a green code declares a resident has not been exposed to any potential cases or risky areas, while yellow and red codes mean they are of higher risk.In December last year, Hong Kong launched a health code system which is built into the “Leave Home Safe” app and compatible with the mainland’s for people who travel across the border.The new health secretary on Monday addressed concerns that the planned updates would allow people’s movements to be traced, saying their main purpose was to identify high-risk individuals and not “track” them down.Some technology experts noted the “Leave Home Safe” app already contained certain personal details such as vaccine records, which included the user’ name and Hong Kong identity card number.While Lo did not give any more details about the planned update, he said the government was now looking at how to define which cases fell under red, yellow or green codes.‘Faster, daily Covid PCR tests could replace Hong Kong hotel quarantine’
    9 Jul 2022 He also did not give a timetable for the change, but said authorities hoped to bring them in as soon as possible, with the government already looking at how to make the updates. University of Hong Kong microbiologist Dr Ho Pak-leung told the same programme the government’s goals of minimising infected people’s mobility could theoretically be achieved by suspending their vaccine pass, as it was needed to enter any high-risk venues and operators were required to scan it.
    He also said he believed contact tracing should not be the city’s main concern right now. That was because of the large number of infections and a relatively high percentage of cases of unknown origin in the community.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#hongkong#chine#zerocovid#depistage#passevaccinal#QRCode#hotel#quarantaine#casimporte#testPCR#vaccination#mobilite#frontiere

  • Hong Kong residents crossing border at Shenzhen Bay Port can soon book Covid-19 tests online as eager travellers throng checkpoint | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/3184784/hong-kong-residents-crossing-border-shenzhen-bay-port-can-soon-book

    Hong Kong residents crossing border at Shenzhen Bay Port can soon book Covid-19 tests online as eager travellers throng checkpoint.New system is aimed at easing crowding at the crossing point as travellers head to mainland China. Traffic has intensified after the Shenzhen government increased quota of quarantine hotel rooms
    Hong Kong is set to allow travellers heading to mainland China through Shenzhen Bay Port to book Covid-19 tests online as residents continue to swamp the checkpoint and ignore the government’s advice to delay trips over the border.Shenzhen authorities also announced on Sunday a new measure to crack down on scalping of quarantine hotel rooms by allocating them through drawing lots following discussions with the Hong Kong government.Shenzhen Bay Port, one of just two land passenger crossings that remain open amid the pandemic, has been packed with crowds in the morning over the weekend after the Guangdong provincial city boosted the number of quarantine hotel rooms by 700 to 2,000 a day and added additional spots for those in need.
    As seen during a Post visit on Sunday, queues snaked outside the checkpoint as hundreds of travellers from Hong Kong waited to undergo the required nucleic acid test before crossing.Planning to visit his relatives on the mainland, Yuen said the Shenzhen government should have made more quarantine hotel rooms available.The 2,000 a day is definitely not enough,” he said. “Residents need to go to Shenzhen. But the issue of quarantine hotel rooms should be addressed first. I was lucky to lock in my booking early on.”Alan Wong, a 49-year-old construction company manager, was unable to book a quarantine hotel room in Shenzhen and his company paid a scalper 2,300 yuan (US$293) to secure a reservation one week in advance.
    Wong said that while it was fairer to use the quota system, the chances of failing to get a hotel room created too many uncertainties for people who needed to do business.“It’s just like waiting for the results of the Mark Six or a Home Ownership Scheme ballot. You’ll never know until the last minute,” Wong said.Secretary for Health Dr Lo Chung-mau visited the checkpoint in the afternoon. Earlier in the day, Lo explained in a TV interview that quarantine-free travel with the mainland remained unfeasible at the moment, as allowing it would require a significant change to the nation’s anti-pandemic policies. Lo added that Hong Kong residents needed to follow the mainland’s requirements when travelling there.
    ‘Faster, daily Covid PCR tests could replace Hong Kong hotel quarantine’
    9 Jul 2022
    A Hong Kong government spokesman said travellers would need to wait for about three hours to receive their Covid-19 test result at the control point and urged them to cross the boundary in the afternoon to avoid the morning rush.Under the coming booking arrangement, which is expected to be ready in a week, travellers must obtain a spot at a Shenzhen quarantine hotel and reserve a time for the Covid-19 test at the border crossing on the day of departure.Hongkongers hoping to travel across the border previously needed to book a room at a quarantine hotel through a government website on a first-come, first-served basis. But to combat the scalping, the Shenzhen government would allocate rooms to travellers by drawing lots, taking into consideration supply and demand, as well as the travel history of the applicant, authorities said. A traveller can only make one booking for the same date and results will be announced at 8pm daily.Society for Community Organisation deputy director Sze Lai-shan said: “The problem now is not much about online booking or queuing at the control point, but more about insufficient hotel rooms for quarantine on the Shenzhen side.
    “The online booking thing is a crowd management measure. It does not mean more people can go to the mainland unless the Shenzhen side makes more quarantine hotel rooms available to meet demand.”Legislator Edward Leung Hei, of the Beijing-friendly Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, urged the government to increase shuttle bus services for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge to allow more visitors to enter the mainland using that access point.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#hongkong#chine#shenzen#frontiere#circulationtransfrontalière#quarantaine#hotel#sante

  • Hong Kong considers Covid health code system similar to mainland China, city logs 2,992 infections | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3184763/hong-kong-mulls-coronavirus-code-system-similar

    Hong Kong considers Covid health code system similar to mainland China, city logs 2,992 infections. Secretary for Health Dr Lo Chung-mau says proposed measure would prevent freedoms of uninfected residents from being affected by Covid-positive people. Lack of protection of individual privacy and sensitive information with code remains concern among public, says Democratic Party spokesman Ramon Yuen
    Hong Kong may adjust its Covid-19 app to require real-name registration as mainland China does to ensure residents subject to compulsory testing orders avoid entering high-risk areas, the city’s new health minister has said. But Secretary for Health Dr Lo Chung-mau on Sunday brushed aside concerns that the proposed measure would be unpopular with Hongkongers, arguing it would enhance the freedoms of uninfected residents. Lo said the measure was justified, given the government was seeking to avoid tightening social-distancing measures.“[If] we can’t find infected people or can’t quarantine them on time, we end up ‘quarantining’ people who are negative. We hope we don’t have to do this,” he said.
    Health officials on Sunday reported 2,992 new Covid-19 cases, including 219 imported ones, and two additional deaths. The city’s overall coronavirus tally stands at 1,270,800 infections and 9,412 related fatalities.
    Commissioner of Customs and Excise Louise Ho Pui-shan was placed under quarantine after one of her colleagues tested preliminary-positive, although her own test came back negative. Meanwhile, the health minister said there were limitations to the city’s “Leave Home Safe” contact-tracing app, which could not prevent coronavirus-positive people from accessing public areas or inform residents they were entering high-risk locations. While he noted that adding a tracking function was “not the first thing to do”, Lo said he believed it was more important for residents to register their real names to use the app.“[The app] is currently limited to telling whether a person is considered to be high-risk, and that they are not supposed to go to higher-risk areas before they do PCR [polymerase chain reaction] testing,” he said.
    Lo added that the current compulsory testing order, despite its name, had “no coercive means at all”, making it unfair for residents as high-risk people could still roam around the city without detection.
    When asked whether the potential measure could have any similarities to the health code systems used by Macau and the mainland, Lo replied that the Hong Kong government had taken both into consideration as a part of the proposal.The mainland’s health code app is used to track and contain Covid-19 patients by providing central authorities with user data such as locations, times and personal interactions.The QR codes generally follow a traffic-light system, with the colours affecting where residents can go and how they are treated: a green code declares a resident has not been exposed to any potential cases or risky areas, while yellow and red codes mean they are of higher risk.Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch, said she had no comment about Lo’s proposal and that the government would make relevant announcements when it was ready.But she acknowledged the contact-tracing app had limitations and said there were no estimate on the number of infected people who had not reported their positive case to authorities.Although the app had residents’ phone numbers, authorities could still face difficulties in reaching some people for contact-tracing purposes if they did not answer the calls, Chuang said.The centre also had to rely on other government departments to obtain residents’ vaccine pass information whenever there was an outbreak, as it did not have access to such details, she added.She said the centre did not have any information on the number of visitors at particular premises if no infections were reported there.“Macau adopted the mainland-like code system but still suffered an outbreak recently. After all, measures on social distancing and quarantine are still key to controlling the spread, especially in cities that have not reached herd immunity,” he said.Leung added that the proportion of the population in both cities that was immune to the virus due to vaccination or prior infection was still low compared with other places. If Hong Kong implemented the mainland’s app functions, it was crucial to reduce the time needed to synchronise the compulsory testing orders with residents’ phones, otherwise it would be futile if there were delays that lasted for days, he added.Ramon Yuen Hoi-man, the Democratic Party’s healthcare policy spokesman, said the lack of protection of individual privacy and sensitive information with the code system remained a concern among the public.He added that he was worried about the implications of introducing new restrictive measures after the fifth wave of infections had already subsided.“Overseas research has shown that stringent Covid-19 measures have been unfavourable to social harmony and unity. Is this something the new government really hopes to pursue?” he said.Medical and health services lawmaker Dr David Lam Tzit-yuen said privacy issues were not a concern as long as authorities were restricted to tracking a person’s identity and other personal information only if they were deemed to be at risk.“[The code system] is the way to go for better protecting the community. Privacy issues, which could be solved by the right algorithms, should not trump safety of others,” he said.Health minister Lo also said he planned to increase the frequency of PCR tests and require high-risk people, such as employees of nursing homes, to undergo such screening once a week, on top of rapid antigen tests, before increasing it to twice a week or every 48 hours.The new administration led by Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu has repeatedly stressed the importance of using PCR tests at an earlier stage more effectively, which it said would exclude people who were not infected from tough restrictions.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#sante#hongkong#macau#chine#QRcode#controlesanitaire#politiquesanitaire#depistage#zerocovid#testPCR#restrictionsanitaire#surveillance

  • Australia woos Hong Kong tourists to help restore pandemic-battered tourism industry, banks on pent-up demand | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3184636/australia-woos-hong-kong-tourists-help-restore-pandemic-battered-tourism

    Australia woos Hong Kong tourists to help restore pandemic-battered tourism industry, banks on pent-up demand. Hong Kong was a top 10 international market before Covid-19 for Tourism Australia, which expects numbers to jump if quarantine requirements are relaxe. For the financial year ending in June 2023, Tourism Australia is targeting 121,000 visitors from Hong Kong – about 43 per cent of the pre-pandemic number
    Australia is training its sights on tourists from Hong Kong amid an anticipated recovery in tourism as Canberra welcomes visitors to its shores after two years of Covid-19 curbs.Visitor numbers from Hong Kong remain at a fraction of pre-pandemic levels, but Tourism Australia expects that to change if and when the city relaxes quarantine requirements.“Hong Kong was a top 10 international market before Covid-19 and the first to achieve its tourism spend goal,” said Andrew Hogg, executive general manager for eastern markets and aviation with Tourism Australia, noting that reducing quarantine requirements in the city to seven days from as many as 21 is likely to release some pent-up demand for travel.Hongkongers averaged four international trips per year pre-pandemic, Hogg noted. “Australia ranks high in awareness and intention among other destinations,” he added. “Australia’s offerings continue to match the expectations of high-value travellers in Hong Kong under travel restrictions.”Tourism Australia has mounted a number of recent campaigns to promote its destinations and offerings to Hongkongers.In September, Tourism Australia, along with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission and Miramar Travel, launched thematic staycation packages called “Wanderful Australia”, allowing staycationeers at The Mira Hong Kong to enjoy themed rooms recalling Aussie experiences such as New South Wales’ jacaranda season or Melbourne’s coffee culture.In January, the agency also launched “Work and Play the Aussie Way”, a showcase of adventures young people could have while working and travelling in the country. A video series called “Australia in 8D” used a YouTube audio technology to “emulate the feeling of an Australian holiday”, with help from the Melbourne Symphony orchestra.
    Australia expects full recovery for its tourism industry to arrive in 2025, Hogg said, including the Hong Kong market.

    The tourism sector, one of the worst-hit when the pandemic broke out across the globe in early 2020, is a major contributor to the Australian economy. It is the country’s fourth largest exporting industry, accounting for 8.2 per cent of export earnings in financial year 2018-2019, data from Tourism Australia show.
    International overnight tourists in Australia spent A$45.4 billion (US$31 billion), or 36 per cent of total tourism spending in the country, in 2019. The industry also employed 666,000 Australians in 2018-2019, making up 5 per cent of the country’s total workforce. In certain tourism-dependent regions, the impact is more magnified.After two years of keeping its borders shut to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Australia reopened to international travellers in February and has launched a promotion to get the sector back up and running.“Tourism was one of the first industries hit by Covid-19, and the sector’s contribution to GDP [gross domestic product] was down almost 50 per cent,” Hogg said.Hong Kong is one market that is likely to play an important role in the recovery, and despite the tough travel restrictions still being implemented in the city, Canberra believes that Hongkongers will still be willing to visit Australia.
    For the financial year ending June 2023, Tourism Australia is targeting about 121,000 visitors from Hong Kong – about 43 per cent of the pre-pandemic number. The tourism authority expects tourists from Hong Kong to spend A$654 million, or about half of their previous spending.
    Welcome back! Australia reopens its borders to fully vaccinated travellers after two yearsAs of March this year, international arrivals to Australia reached 520,000, including leisure and holiday arrivals and those visiting friends and relatives. Of those, 6,952 were from Hong Kong and 17,542 were from mainland China.Online booking platforms Booking.com and Trip.com have also recognised the pent-up demand for travel and have rolled out measures to attract travellers.“Booking.com rolled out an industry-first, the Travel Sustainable badge, to support our partners and customers in taking the next steps to become more sustainable, no matter where they might be on that journey,” said Laura Houldsworth, managing director for Asia-Pacific. “The goal of the badge is to enable travellers to make more informed choices when choosing their accommodations and provide industry-standard recognition to properties. Over 100,000 properties proudly feature the badge as an indicator of their efforts to be more sustainable.”

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#australie#hongkong#sante#pandemie#tourisme#retsrictionsanitaire#economie#frontiere#vaccination

  • Mainland Chinese care worker at Covid-19 holding centre found dead in Hong Kong hotel | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3175860/mainland-chinese-care-worker-covid-19-holding-centre

    Coronavirus Hong Kong
    Mainland Chinese care worker at Covid-19 holding centre found dead in Hong Kong hotel. A woman who came to Hong Kong from mainland China to look after elderly coronavirus patients as a temporary care worker at a holding centre was found dead in her hotel room on Thursday.
    According to police, emergency personnel were called to B P International hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui at about 1.30pm after the woman was found unconscious.A force spokesman said she was certified dead at the scene by paramedics.The Social Welfare Department confirmed on the same day that the woman was one of about 760 care workers temporarily hired from the mainland to look after infected elderly residents in the city’s holding centres. It said she arrived in Hong Kong in March.
    A spokesman for the department said it was saddened to learn of the death and had contacted the woman’s family to help arrange her affairs. He added there were no further details as the case was being investigated by police.
    Actor’s death in quarantine sparks call for review, Hong Kong logs 413
    The Post has learned that the woman was Zhang Xiu, aged 50, who came to Hong Kong from Guangxi province.A source said Zhang had told her colleagues on Thursday morning that she was feeling unwell.He said Zhang’s colleagues had visited her hotel after she failed to report for duty. Staff helped them access the room after they received no answer from her and found the 50-year-old unconscious in the bathroom, the source added.
    She had stayed in the hotel since March 7 and worked at the Choi Wing Road Sports Centre in Kwun Tong, which had been turned into a holding centre for elderly coronavirus patients, according to another source.
    The residential care industry has been considered one of the hardest-hit sectors by the city’s fifth wave of infections, with hundreds of facilities having previously reported outbreaks among staff and residents.
    Welfare sector urges John Lee to better support care homes for elderly
    26 Apr 2022On March 1, the Social Welfare Department announced it planned to hire 1,000 staff from the mainland to fulfil roles for three months at holding centres, community isolation facilities and quarantine camps to care for elderly residents, people with disabilities and other potential or confirmed cases.Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong revealed at the time that some care homes had seen almost all their staff and residents infected, adding that the industry was facing a manpower shortage as more employees either caught Covid-19 or had to be quarantined.
    The workers can earn as much as HK$31,000 (US$3,970) a month if they are willing to take care of residents in isolation. Staff are expected to provide basic nursing care such as feeding elderly patients who are confined to their beds.Both Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and operators of care homes had previously said the recruitment process had faced challenges as candidates were concerned about Hong Kong’s Covid-19 outbreak. The lockdowns across the border also presented complications.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#chine#hongkong#sante#zerocovid#travailleurmigrant#vaccination#isolement#frontiere#confinement

  • Shanghai lockdown: some parents allowed to stay with Covid-positive children after backlash | China | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/07/shanghai-lockdown-some-parents-allowed-to-stay-with-covid-positive-chil
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/afcacc667f64f6e84fb3a4e5381b268dd005f536/0_171_3851_2310/master/3851.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-ali

    Shanghai lockdown: some parents allowed to stay with Covid-positive children after backlash
    Sanitation workers wearing PPE conduct disinfection work in Shanghai.
    Shanghai is allowing some parents to stay with their Covid-infected children during lockdown after a public backlash. Photograph: VCG/Getty Images
    Associated Press
    Shanghai is allowing at least some parents to stay with children infected with Covid-19, making an exception to a policy of isolating anyone who tests positive after a public outcry.The announcement came as China’s largest city remained in lockdown and conducted more mass testing on Wednesday following another jump in new cases.A top city health official said at a news conference that parents could apply to stay with children with “special needs” and accompany them if they fully comprehend the health risks and sign an agreement.
    The parents must wear masks, dine at a different time than their children, avoid sharing items with them and strictly follow all regulations, said Wu Qianyu of the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission. She did not define what qualified as “special needs.”Her announcement followed Chinese state media reports a day earlier that an isolation site set up at the Shanghai New International Expo Center was accepting children with parents. The city has opened sprawling isolation centres for tens of thousands of people to isolate the growing number of positive cases.Reports that parents were being separated from their infected children had sparked a wave of protest online last weekend, fuelled by photos showing several children in cots at a quarantine site with no parents in sight.Footage of a pet corgi being beaten to death on the streets of Shanghai over fears it may have the virus has also sparked outrage and frustration with China’s zero-Covid policy.
    “There is no humanity, and while the whole world is living a normal and orderly life, there are still ‘volunteers’ who have lost their humanity. Happening in China in 2022. Very sad,” one person wrote on Weibo.Last November, the death of another corgi – killed in its apartment while its owner was serving mandatory hotel quarantine in Jiangxi province – sparked a similar outcry.Shanghai reported 17,077 new cases detected over the previous day, all but 311 of them in people who showed no symptoms. Under China’s zero-Covid approach, the city requires all those who test positive to be held in designated locations for observation, along with their close contacts.The latest cases bring Shanghai’s total to about 90,000 in an outbreak that began last month. No deaths have been ascribed to the outbreak driven by the Omicron BA.2 variant, which is much more infectious but also less lethal than the previous Delta strain. Two deaths have been reported in another ongoing outbreak in Jilin province in China’s northeast.
    An official from the EU Chamber of Commerce in China joined a growing chorus of criticism of the Shanghai lockdown, which has disrupted daily life and commerce in a major financial and business centre.
    “Another really big fear is ending up in one of those mass central quarantine sites,” Schoen-Behanzin said in an online event for member companies and journalists.Others complained earlier about shortages of medical workers, volunteers and beds in the isolation wards. More than 38,000 health workers from 15 provinces have been sent to Shanghai to help with mass testing and other needs.Beijing is also tightening measures after 11 cases were detected in the Chinese capital in recent days. Authorities closed down a shopping and office centre in the busy Wangjing district and are requiring those arriving in the city to report to their place of work or residence within 12 hours and undergo a Covid-19 test within 72 hours. They must undergo another test within 48 hours of returning to their place of work.Despite growing public frustration and concerns about the economic effects, China says it is sticking to its hard-line “zero-tolerance” approach mandating lockdowns, mass testing and the compulsory isolation of all suspected cases and close contacts. While China’s vaccination rate hovers about 90%, its domestically produced inactivated virus vaccines are seen as weaker than the mRNA vaccines such as those produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna that are used abroad, as well as in the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau. Vaccination rates among elderly people are also much lower than the population at large, with only around half of those over 80 fully vaccinated.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#chine#shangai#sante#confinement#isolement#zerocovid#vaccination#restrictionsanitaire#hongkong#macau

  • Shanghai lockdown: some parents allowed to stay with Covid-positive children after backlash | China | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/07/shanghai-lockdown-some-parents-allowed-to-stay-with-covid-positive-chil
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/afcacc667f64f6e84fb3a4e5381b268dd005f536/0_171_3851_2310/master/3851.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-ali

    Shanghai lockdown: some parents allowed to stay with Covid-positive children after backlash
    Sanitation workers wearing PPE conduct disinfection work in Shanghai.
    Shanghai is allowing some parents to stay with their Covid-infected children during lockdown after a public backlash. Photograph: VCG/Getty Images
    Associated Press
    Shanghai is allowing at least some parents to stay with children infected with Covid-19, making an exception to a policy of isolating anyone who tests positive after a public outcry.The announcement came as China’s largest city remained in lockdown and conducted more mass testing on Wednesday following another jump in new cases.A top city health official said at a news conference that parents could apply to stay with children with “special needs” and accompany them if they fully comprehend the health risks and sign an agreement.
    The parents must wear masks, dine at a different time than their children, avoid sharing items with them and strictly follow all regulations, said Wu Qianyu of the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission. She did not define what qualified as “special needs.”Her announcement followed Chinese state media reports a day earlier that an isolation site set up at the Shanghai New International Expo Center was accepting children with parents. The city has opened sprawling isolation centres for tens of thousands of people to isolate the growing number of positive cases.Reports that parents were being separated from their infected children had sparked a wave of protest online last weekend, fuelled by photos showing several children in cots at a quarantine site with no parents in sight.Footage of a pet corgi being beaten to death on the streets of Shanghai over fears it may have the virus has also sparked outrage and frustration with China’s zero-Covid policy.
    “There is no humanity, and while the whole world is living a normal and orderly life, there are still ‘volunteers’ who have lost their humanity. Happening in China in 2022. Very sad,” one person wrote on Weibo.Last November, the death of another corgi – killed in its apartment while its owner was serving mandatory hotel quarantine in Jiangxi province – sparked a similar outcry.Shanghai reported 17,077 new cases detected over the previous day, all but 311 of them in people who showed no symptoms. Under China’s zero-Covid approach, the city requires all those who test positive to be held in designated locations for observation, along with their close contacts.The latest cases bring Shanghai’s total to about 90,000 in an outbreak that began last month. No deaths have been ascribed to the outbreak driven by the Omicron BA.2 variant, which is much more infectious but also less lethal than the previous Delta strain. Two deaths have been reported in another ongoing outbreak in Jilin province in China’s northeast.
    An official from the EU Chamber of Commerce in China joined a growing chorus of criticism of the Shanghai lockdown, which has disrupted daily life and commerce in a major financial and business centre.
    “Another really big fear is ending up in one of those mass central quarantine sites,” Schoen-Behanzin said in an online event for member companies and journalists.Others complained earlier about shortages of medical workers, volunteers and beds in the isolation wards. More than 38,000 health workers from 15 provinces have been sent to Shanghai to help with mass testing and other needs.Beijing is also tightening measures after 11 cases were detected in the Chinese capital in recent days. Authorities closed down a shopping and office centre in the busy Wangjing district and are requiring those arriving in the city to report to their place of work or residence within 12 hours and undergo a Covid-19 test within 72 hours. They must undergo another test within 48 hours of returning to their place of work.Despite growing public frustration and concerns about the economic effects, China says it is sticking to its hard-line “zero-tolerance” approach mandating lockdowns, mass testing and the compulsory isolation of all suspected cases and close contacts. While China’s vaccination rate hovers about 90%, its domestically produced inactivated virus vaccines are seen as weaker than the mRNA vaccines such as those produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna that are used abroad, as well as in the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau. Vaccination rates among elderly people are also much lower than the population at large, with only around half of those over 80 fully vaccinated.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#chine#shangai#sante#confinement#isolement#zerocovid#vaccination#restrictionsanitaire#hongkong#macau

  • Coronavirus: Hong Kong confirms 6,646 new cases as government considers mass at-home testing exercise to help ‘gauge infection situation’ | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3172549/coronavirus-hong-kong-government-considering-mass

    Coronavirus: Hong Kong confirms 6,646 new cases as government considers mass at-home testing exercise to help ‘gauge infection situation’
    A source says the mass at-home testing will serve as a ‘voluntary and supplementary’ measure, and will not replace an official universal screening exercise
    g

    Published: 3:06pm, 31 Mar, 2022

    Updated: 5:23pm, 31 Mar, 2022
    Why you can trust SCMP
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    Volunteers pack kits of rapid Covid-19 tests, masks and medicine set to be distributed to Hong Kong residents at Tai Wo Hau Sports Centre. Photo: Dickson Lee
    Volunteers pack kits of rapid Covid-19 tests, masks and medicine set to be distributed to Hong Kong residents at Tai Wo Hau Sports Centre. Photo: Dickson Lee

    Hong Kong residents may be asked to take part in mass at-home Covid-19 testing via kits set to be distributed from Saturday in order to help the government better gauge the current epidemic situation, the city’s leader has said.Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor floated the possibility at her regular coronavirus press conference on Thursday after being asked whether the government still planned to pursue a controversial compulsory universal testing drive.“Since we are distributing rapid antigen tests in the anti-epidemic service bags, we would like to explore whether we can make use of this convenient and accurate tool … so that we can gauge the infection situation,” Lam said, referring to packs of supplies and medicine that will be handed out to all Hong Kong residents.Lam added that the current daily caseload, though on the decline, was still too high to conduct universal screening via government-run testing sites, noting the healthcare system was unlikely to be able to cope with the new infections the exercise might uncover.The city confirmed 6,646 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, the sixth consecutive day the caseload was below the 10,000 mark. Another 119 deaths were reported, including 17 fatalities that had not been taken into account due to a backlog.
    The overall tally of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic stands at 1,157,415, while the total number of related deaths has reached 7,825.
    The government will begin distributing the anti-epidemic service bags – containing 20 rapid tests, 20 KN95 masks and two boxes of proprietary traditional Chinese medicine – to nearly 3 million households on Saturday. Lam said it would take about a week to hand out all the packages.
    Details of the proposed mass rapid testing exercise would be announced if and when the plans were confirmed, Lam added.A source said the mass rapid testing, which would be undertaken by residents on a single day, would serve as a “voluntary and supplementary” measure, and would not replace the universal screening exercise. The source noted that experts had suggested the best time for the universal screening would be when daily caseloads were consistently in the three-digit range.
    The government announced a suspension of the universal screening exercise on March 21. Lam said mainland Chinese and Hong Kong experts had concluded that public resources should not be spent on such an exercise when the daily caseload remained high. Instead, it should be carried out towards the end of the current fifth wave of infections.Lam later told lawmakers she did not have a crystal ball to predict when the testing could be rolled out.Jack Chan Jick-chi, acting secretary for home affairs, told a radio programme on Thursday that each Hong Kong household would be entitled to one package of supplies, assuming it had three to four members, while larger ones would be allowed to collect additional kits as needed. Special arrangements would be made for people sharing living spaces in subdivided units.He added that volunteers and civil servants deployed to package and distribute the kits would be required to be vaccinated and to conduct rapid Covid-19 tests before performing their duties.
    At Thursday’s press conference, Lam also said Covid-19 patients from elderly care homes with mild or no symptoms could be sent directly to government isolation centres rather than the emergency wards of public hospitals. The move was aimed at relieving pressure on the city’s overburdened public healthcare system.Among the six isolation facilities, the Kai Tak Holding Centre is the largest, with 1,200 beds. All the facilities are able to prescribe the oral anti-Covid drugs molnupiravir and Paxlovid.
    Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners dispatched from the mainland would also be on hand to treat symptoms and facilitate patients’ recovery, Lam said.Meanwhile, the city will lift flight bans on nine high-risk countries on Friday to allow fully vaccinated Hong Kong residents to return. The quarantine period for ­arrivals to the city will also be slashed from two weeks to one, provided they test negative on their sixth and seventh days of isolation.Lam said on Thursday that an interdepartmental meeting would be conducted to ensure that testing and transport for new arrivals went smoothly, after noting the day before that the number of incoming travellers was expected to jump from around 300 a day to some 2,000.
    “We have made full preparations for their return, we hope they have a pleasant trip back to Hong Kong,” she said.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#hongkong#chine#sante#frontiere#circulation#depistageuniversel#circulationthérapeutique#medecinetraditionnelle#medecinechinoise#retour#resident

  • How Covid helped China tighten its hold on Hong Kong | Hong Kong | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/28/covid-china-hong-kong
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/74eace71692be6d33cfb0f3ce882530bafac3827/0_107_3275_1964/master/3275.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-ali

    How Covid helped China tighten its hold on Hong Kong
    Doctors from the mainland are treating patients and Chinese workers are building hospitals as Beijing’s presence is felt like never before
    Traffic is busier than usual in Lok Ma Chau, a village on Hong Kong’s northern border. Heavy-duty trucks shuttle mainland Chinese workers to and from the wetland district, where they are building a makeshift hospital to treat Covid-19 patients.The hubbub would have been unimaginable a year or even a month ago. The Asian financial capital is separated from the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen by a winding river. But in early March, a makeshift bridge linking the two cities was erected. Satellite images show the foundations of the structure being laid days before the Hong Kong government announced the project.
    Since its opening, the two-lane crossing in Hong Kong’s northernmost district has emerged as a physical manifestation of the shrinking space between Beijing and the semi-autonomous territory, and that gap has closed faster than ever during the pandemic.A former British colony, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 under the “one country, two systems” arrangement negotiated with Britain. The framework allowed the city to preserve rights and freedoms not afforded across the border for 50 years, enabling its rise as a global, freewheeling hub in the heart of Asia.
    Government workers in protective gear on a Hong Kong street this year
    Hong Kong Covid crisis: why is the death rate so high?Yet Beijing has attempted to bring the territory under its wing since then.A visitation scheme introduced in 2003 made it easier for mainland Chinese travellers to come to Hong Kong. In 2012, with Beijing’s support, Hong Kong proposed a patriotic education curriculum, which triggered citywide protests.Then in 2020, the national security law, a response to large-scale demonstrations that broke out in 2019, was passed by Beijing’s top legislature and enacted in Hong Kong a year later without being reviewed by local lawmakers. Scores of veteran pro-democracy activists have been arrested under the law.But it took a pandemic – specifically, Covid-19’s highly transmissible Omicron variant – for Beijing’s presence in Hong Kong to be felt in ways like never before.
    In late February, Hong Kong announced that it would invoke an emergency ordinance so the city could “draw on [the] mainland’s support” and “undertake key anti-epidemic projects at full speed”, a press release read.
    At a treatment facility set up in the cavernous AsiaWorld-Expo convention centre, elderly patients are now being tended to by mainland Chinese doctors and nurses. Under the emergency laws, the medical staff were able to bypass licensing exams and registration procedures normally required for staff who aren’t trained locally. Authorities said computers for recording patient information had been changed from English to Chinese to accommodate them.Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam has said the territory ‘cannot let existing laws stop us from doing what we should do’ during Covid.Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam has said the territory ‘cannot let existing laws stop us from doing what we should do’ during Covid. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, announced during a coronavirus press briefing on Friday that the city would be distributing rapid test kits, face masks and a traditional Chinese medication – Lianhua Qingwen – to households, donated by the mainland.
    The medication, which has been registered with the city’s pharmaceutical board, has been flagged by health authorities in Singapore and the US for being advertised with unsupported claims.“Beijing has been trying to mould Hong Kong into another [Chinese] city,” says Lynette Ong, a political science professor at the University of Toronto. “The Covid crisis gives them a legitimate reason to do so.”Besides the construction of a Covid-19 hospital in Lok Ma Chau, mainland China has already assisted Hong Kong with the building of five other isolation facilities for patients with mild or no symptoms. China and Hong Kong are among the last places in the world that still isolate or hospitalise Covid patients who are in a stable condition.
    Infrastructure projects in Hong Kong typically involve construction firms submitting tenders to compete for billion-dollar contracts. But all of the facilities being built with mainland aid have been handed over to Chinese State Construction Engineering, a state-owned company.At an opening ceremony for the newest centre in the northern district of Yuen Long, top Hong Kong officials stood at attention as a video of toiling construction workers, portrayed as worked-to-the-bone heroes, played before them. A song in Mandarin, instead of the Cantonese language spoken in Hong Kong, played in the background.“The scale and speed at which these projects were finished is unprecedented,” Hong Kong’s leader Lam said at the Thursday ceremony. “This will go down in the history of Hong Kong’s Covid-19 fight.”
    Lam is used to talking about the crisis in terms of conflict. “In an environment as urgent as this, we cannot let existing laws stop us from doing what we should do … this is not the mentality for fighting a war,” she said in February.Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a history professor at the University of California, Irvine, says “there was once a chasm separating what takes place in Hong Kong from what takes place across the mainland border”. That chasm is getting smaller.
    Under the national security law, spaces like independent newsrooms, universities and civil society groups have felt a chill as Beijing seeks to integrate Hong Kong further into its fold.And as Hong Kong prepares to welcome a batch of traditional Chinese medicine practitioners to staff treatment facilities and open more isolation camps built by mainland workers, the assimilation is now playing out more publicly than ever.
    “The way that Covid has been handled by the Hong Kong authorities has demonstrated that the ‘one country, two systems’ concept is a pale shadow of what it once was,” Wasserstrom says.

    #Covid-19#migration#migrant#chine#hongkong#sante#zerocovid#securite#politique#frontiere#chinecontinentale#medecinechinoise#circulationtherapeutique

  • Pourquoi la Chine n’est pas prête à abandonner l’objectif de zéro Covid
    https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2022/03/24/pourquoi-la-chine-n-est-pas-prete-a-abandonner-l-objectif-de-zero-covid_6118

    Pourquoi la Chine n’est pas prête à abandonner l’objectif de zéro Covid
    Faible taux de vaccination des seniors, manque d’infrastructures médicales, peur du virus : malgré une politique zéro Covid toujours plus coûteuse, la Chine n’est pas prête à changer de stratégie.
    Par Simon Leplâtre(Shanghaï, correspondance)
    Des milliers de cas par jour, une province entière confinée, le Jilin, au nord-est, et des métropoles en partie refermées, Shanghaï et Shenzhen : la Chine fait face à sa plus forte vague de Covid-19 depuis le début de l’épidémie à Wuhan, fin 2019. Jeudi 24 mars, le pays a déclaré 4 732 cas, dont 2 722 asymptomatiques. Le variant Omicron, à la fois moins sévère et plus contagieux, met à l’épreuve la stratégie zéro Covid en vigueur dans le pays depuis deux ans. La situation peut-elle remettre en cause cette approche très stricte consistant à réagir dès le premier cas, à tester massivement et à fermer s’il le faut des villes entières ? Pas pour l’instant : la Chine n’est pas prête, répondent les responsables sanitaires. S’il rouvrait ses portes, le pays risquerait une « vague de sortie » massive et meurtrière, dans un territoire immense et peu immunisé.
    Le président chinois, Xi Jinping, a d’ailleurs rappelé le 17 mars que le temps était à la « persévérance ». Tout en invitant à « prendre des mesures plus efficaces pour parvenir à une prévention et à un contrôle maximum avec le coût le plus faible possible, à minimiser l’impact de l’épidémie sur l’économie et la société », d’après l’agence Chine nouvelle. Mais, pour les dirigeants locaux, engager des mesures radicales reste l’option la plus sûre, car nombre de responsables ont été sanctionnés pour avoir laissé filer l’épidémie, mais rarement pour avoir pris des mesures trop strictes.
    Le coût de cette stratégie ne fait pourtant qu’augmenter. Là où la Chine pouvait profiter de plusieurs mois de retour à la normale entre deux foyers avec les premiers variants, ce n’est plus le cas depuis l’arrivée du variant Delta à l’été 2021 : des foyers apparaissent désormais tous les mois. A chaque fois, les zones touchées subissent des conséquences économiques importantes, notamment pour les secteurs de la restauration, du tourisme et du divertissement. La consommation est fortement impactée. Ces dernières semaines, le mécontentement s’est fait sentir dans les villes où les mesures sont les plus strictes. A Shenzhen, des habitants ont protesté, parfois violemment, dans plusieurs quartiers où la quarantaine se prolongeait, d’après des vidéos partagées sur les réseaux sociaux. Sur l’une d’elle prise à Futian, un district du centre-ville, on les entend hurler derrière des barricades en plastique : « Déconfinez ! On n’en peut plus ! »
    Pourtant, l’abandon de l’objectif de tolérance zéro face au virus n’est pas à l’ordre du jour, insistent les autorités de santé chinoises. « Certains pays du monde ont relâché les mesures et ne font plus rien. Mais la vision du gouvernement chinois et du Parti communiste est de mettre la santé et le peuple au premier plan. Si nous choisissions de baisser la garde maintenant, tous nos efforts passés auraient été en vain, a déclaré Liang Wannian, le chef du groupe d’experts chargé de la réponse à l’épidémie de Covid-19 en Chine, en conférence de presse le 22 mars. Surtout face à Omicron, dont la transmission est très rapide, nous ne pouvons pas rester passifs, parce que nos ressources sont déséquilibrées (entre villes et campagnes) et que la vaccination des personnes vulnérables n’est pas encore complètement en place. » Pour le responsable, la stratégie zéro Covid permet de gagner du temps, avec l’espoir que des traitements et des vaccins plus efficaces émergent, ou qu’une mutation rende le virus moins dangereux. Le principal point faible de la Chine aujourd’hui est la vaccination des personnes âgées : alors que 87 % de la population générale est vaccinée, seuls 51 % des plus de 80 ans ont reçu deux doses et 20 % ont reçu une troisième dose, a indiqué le 18 mars la Commission nationale de la santé. Une dose de rappel d’autant plus importante que les vaccins chinois à virus inactivés sont moins efficaces que ceux à ARN. D’après une étude présentée en preprint le 22 mars par l’Université de Hongkong, l’efficacité de Sinovac n’est que de 72 % contre les cas graves et mortels après deux doses chez les plus de 60 ans, mais grimpe à 98 % après une troisième dose. Selon les chiffres du gouvernement, le taux de mortalité pour les plus de 80 ans est de 15 % sans vaccin, de 2,9 % avec deux ou trois doses Sinovac, et de 1,51 % avec deux ou trois doses du vaccin BioNTech. Mais, contrairement à Hongkong, la Chine n’a pas autorisé la commercialisation du produit de BioNTech.
    « Pour vivre avec le virus, il faut qu’ils vaccinent leur population âgée à au moins 90 %, et qu’ils les testent pour s’assurer que leurs niveaux d’anticorps sont élevés, insiste Jin Dongyan, professeur d’oncologie et de virologie à la faculté de médecine de l’université de Hongkong. Sinon, comme à Hongkong, les personnes âgées non vaccinées ou vaccinées avec une seule dose ou avec des vaccins peu efficaces, ces gens-là vont mourir, et on aura tellement de morts que les gens seront terrifiés. » L’île du sud de la Chine se détourne de la stratégie zéro Covid, rendue obsolète face à l’explosion des cas ces dernières semaines. Le territoire bénéficiant d’une certaine autonomie enregistre aujourd’hui le plus fort taux de mortalité au monde, du fait d’une faible vaccination des personnes âgées : moins d’un quart de ses plus de 80 ans avaient reçu deux doses avant l’émergence de cette vague, en février.
    En Chine continentale, la peur des effets secondaires des vaccins a dissuadé les personnes âgées ou souffrantes de se faire vacciner. Les scandales sanitaires passés liés à des vaccins frelatés y sont pour quelque chose, de même que la perception que les médicaments modernes provoquent beaucoup d’effets secondaires, contrairement à la médecine traditionnelle. Les autorités elles-mêmes sont prudentes : les femmes enceintes sont par exemple exclues de la vaccination. « Le problème est qu’au départ les personnes âgées n’ont pas été incluses dans les campagnes de vaccination massive. Ensuite, la communication publique aurait dû insister davantage sur le fait que les risques de développer des symptômes sévères sont bien plus importants que les risques associés à la vaccination, estime Huang Yanzhong, spécialiste des politiques de santé en Chine au Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), un centre de recherche américain. Mais c’est difficile dans le contexte chinois, parce que la stratégie zéro Covid a créé un faux sentiment de sécurité : si le virus ne circule pas, à quoi bon aller se faire vacciner », ajoute le chercheur.
    Pour cet expert, les autres obstacles à un changement d’approche sont psychologiques et politiques. Depuis deux ans, les autorités ont joué sur la peur pour favoriser l’adhésion des Chinois aux restrictions : « Ils sont constamment informés de la situation dramatique en Occident, qui a vu exploser le nombre de morts parce qu’ils n’ont pas opté pour la stratégie zéro Covid. Il y a ce sentiment que, si la Chine change son approche, les conséquences seraient dévastatrices », note le professeur Huang. Malgré la frustration face au retour des confinements, les remises en cause de la stratégie officielle sont très minoritaires en Chine. Enfin, les autorités sont sensibles au risque politique associé à une perte de contrôle de l’épidémie : « Maintenir la politique zéro Covid est vu comme primordial par Pékin, qui peut continuer à revendiquer la supériorité du modèle et du système politique chinois. »

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#chine#hongkong#sante#zerocovid#vaccination#frontiere#risquepolitique#restrictionsanitaire

  • Covid-19 : Hongkong assouplit les mesures de contrôle en pleine cinquième vague
    https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2022/03/22/covid-19-en-pleine-cinquieme-vague-hongkong-assouplit-les-mesures-de-control

    Covid-19 : Hongkong assouplit les mesures de contrôle en pleine cinquième vagueAprès des mois de lutte erratique contre l’épidémie, la cheffe de l’exécutif, Carrie Lam, répond aux inquiétudes des milieux d’affaires face à un risque d’isolement.Nouveau changement de cap à Hongkong dans la lutte contre le Covid-19 : lundi 21 mars, la cheffe de l’exécutif, Carrie Lam, a annoncé la levée de l’interdiction des vols en provenance de neuf pays (dont la France, le Royaume-Uni et les Etats-Unis) et la diminution de la durée de la quarantaine obligatoire à l’hôtel pour les arrivants, qui passera de quatorze à sept jours, à partir du 1er avril. Carrie Lam a également « suspendu » la grande opération de dépistage universel obligatoire. C’était pourtant la mesure-phare de son vaste plan de lutte contre la cinquième vague de l’épidémie, rendu public le 22 février, à la suite des sommations très directes du président chinois, Xi Jinping, une semaine plus tôt, l’intimant de contrôler l’épidémie et d’assumer la responsabilité de cette crise.
    Ce nouveau coup de barre dans la gestion erratique de la crise arrive à un moment étrange, puisque Hongkong est encore en pleine cinquième vague, d’une virulence nettement supérieure aux quatre précédentes. Quant à la Chine, qui avait réussi à s’isoler du virus en imposant une stratégie zéro Covid, elle semble, à son tour, faire face à une invasion incontrôlable du variant Omicron. « Si quelqu’un est attaché au statut de centre financier international de Hongkong, c’est bien moi », a déclaré Carrie Lam, semblant avoir soudain compris qu’à force d’isoler Hongkong, elle risquait de lui faire perdre son atout principal, tant aux yeux du monde qu’aux yeux de la Chine, celui de troisième centre financier de la planète.Même si l’on est encore loin d’une réouverture complète des frontières (seules les personnes ayant le statut de résident sont autorisées à revenir à Hongkong), ces mesures ont été bien accueillies par les milieux d’affaires, de la finance et les communautés diplomatiques et expatriées qui les réclamaient désespérément depuis des mois, voire des années.
    Il faut dire que les critiques contre le gouvernement montaient désormais de partout, et non plus seulement des journaux pro-Pékin, qui servent de porte-voix au mécontentement du gouvernement central chinois. « Au cœur de cette crise se trouve un problème de leadership. Plus spécifiquement un manque d’humilité et un excès de confiance en soi injustifié de certains de nos dirigeants », écrivait ainsi, dans le quotidien anglophone South China Morning Post du 17 mars, Ronnie Chan, l’un des grands propriétaires fonciers de Hongkong. La pique visait explicitement Carrie Lam. Plusieurs lettres ouvertes cinglantes adressées à la cheffe de l’exécutif ont circulé sur les réseaux sociaux et dans la presse, quand bien même les principaux médias d’opposition n’existent plus.
    (...) Outre les mesures de distanciation physique, très fermement imposées depuis plus de deux ans, Hongkong s’est également isolé du reste du monde, comme jamais dans son histoire, au point que nombre d’entreprises internationales ont dû relocaliser certains de leurs cadres à Dubaï, à Singapour ou à Shanghaï. Tous ces sacrifices avaient comme seul objectif de pouvoir, un jour, rouvrir les frontières avec la Chine, qui, ayant dompté le virus, n’acceptait les visiteurs de Hongkong qu’au compte-gouttes. Tout en imposant des mois d’attente pour obtenir un visa et trois à quatre semaines de quarantaine à l’entrée en Chine. Hongkong n’était donc plus ni la porte d’entrée vers la Chine ni la plaque tournante d’échanges entre Pékin et le reste du monde. La communauté étrangère était au bord de la crise de nerfs. Outre la fermeture-réouverture constante des écoles (les familles avec enfants en sont à onze mois d’école à la maison) et la menace d’être envoyé de force en centre d’isolement public sous divers prétextes, voire d’être séparé de ses propres enfants, la perspective de l’opération de dépistage universel et obligatoire fut pour des milliers d’expatriés le déclencheur du départ.
    L’année 2021 avait déjà vu environ 100 000 personnes quitter Hongkong, plutôt des familles de la classe moyenne supérieure, après l’entrée en vigueur de la loi sur la sécurité nationale, le 30 juin 2020, qui menace directement les libertés fondamentales. Mais la gestion erratique de la cinquième vague de Covid-19, cumulée au climat politique incertain, a déclenché un exode d’expatriés et de Hongkongais d’une ampleur inégalée dans l’histoire contemporaine de la ville : depuis le 1er janvier, 134 000 résidents, en flux net, sont partis avec armes et bagages, dont 43 000 pendant la première quinzaine de mars. Les mesures annoncées lundi devraient désamorcer l’inquiétude qui commençait à gagner même les têtes les plus froides de la région administrative spéciale. Hongkong, d’abord forcée d’afficher une stratégie « zéro Covid dynamique » conforme à la doctrine de Pékin, a gaspillé d’immenses ressources pour donner l’impression de lutter « comme en Chine » à éradiquer le moindre foyer de contamination, pendant que le virus se répandait à grande vitesse dans tous les districts du territoire et décimait des milliers de personnes âgées non vaccinées. C’est à la suite de la venue de l’épidémiologiste chinois Liang Wannian, le chef de la stratégie Covid-19 au sein de la commission nationale de la santé, qu’un certain réalisme est apparu. C’est indéniablement sous son influence que la « grande idée » de dépistage universel a été remise en cause.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migraton#hongkong#chine#sante#zerocovid#frontiere#etranger#expatrié#business#economie#relocalisation#retour

  • Covid-19 : la Chine dit avoir enregistré ses deux premiers morts depuis plus d’un an
    https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2022/03/19/covid-19-la-chine-dit-avoir-enregistre-ses-deux-premiers-morts-depuis-plus-d

    Covid-19 : la Chine dit avoir enregistré ses deux premiers morts depuis plus d’un an
    Le président Xi Jinping a assuré jeudi que le gouvernement « s’en tient » à la stratégie dite « zéro Covid », selon la télévision publique.
    La Chine, qui subit sa plus grande recrudescence de coronavirus depuis le début de la pandémie, a dit avoir enregistré ses deux premiers morts du Covid-19 depuis plus d’un an, samedi 19 mars. Ces deux décès, officialisés par la Commission nationale de la santé, sont survenus dans la province de Jilin au nord-est du pays. Dans le même temps, le pays a enregistré samedi 4 051 nouvelles infections.Le pays, où les premiers cas de coronavirus sont apparus à la fin de 2019, a ensuite gardé l’épidémie sous contrôle grâce à un contrôle strict des frontières, de longues quarantaines et des confinements ciblés.
    Mais le variant Omicron, hautement contagieux, est venu menacer cette stratégie, obligeant les autorités à confiner des villes comme le centre technologique Shenzhen et ses 17,5 millions d’habitants dans le sud de la Chine. La deuxième économie du monde, qui enregistrait moins de 100 cas par jour il y a encore trois semaines, annonce plus d’un millier de nouvelles infections quotidiennes depuis une semaine.Le président Xi Jinping a assuré jeudi que le gouvernement « s’en tient » à la stratégie dite « zéro Covid », selon la télévision publique. « Nous devons toujours mettre au premier plan les gens et leur vie, nous en tenir (…) à la politique du zéro Covid, et enrayer au plus vite la propagation de l’épidémie », a-t-il ordonné.
    Des dizaines de millions de personnes sont actuellement confinées chez elles à travers le pays, et les autorités se sont efforcées de libérer des lits d’hôpitaux, craignant que l’épidémie ne mette le système de santé sous grande tension. Pékin a fait de son faible taux de mortalité un argument politique, assurant que cela démontrait la puissance de son modèle de gouvernance. La province de Jilin, qui a rapporté des milliers de cas la semaine passée, a construit huit hôpitaux temporaires et deux centres de quarantaine pour gérer l’épidémie. Hongkong, région chinoise semi-autonome, subit aussi la vague de coronavirus la plus importante depuis le début de la pandémie, enregistrant plus de 200 décès chaque jour, soit plus de 5 000 depuis le début de l’année.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#chine#hongkong#sante#omicron#frontiere#circulation#zerocovid#quarantaine#gouvernance#confinement

  • Coronavirus: Hong Kong shuts public beaches amid Covid-19 surge, but frustrated residents ask: why can’t we swim and relax? | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3170833/why-not-let-us-swim-and-relax-frustrated

    Coronavirus: Hong Kong shuts public beaches amid Covid-19 surge, but frustrated residents ask: why can’t we swim and relax?Government closes all public beaches amid outcry from mainland Chinese online users over social-distancing measures perceived as lax Residents react with mixed emotions, with one restaurant manager urging authorities to give clear deadline to allow businesses to adjust
    Residents have expressed their frustration at a decision by Hong Kong authorities to close all public beaches amid a Covid-19 outbreak, while some have called it necessary as a result of frequent social-distancing violations.On Wednesday, the government announced that all public beaches would close from Thursday until further notice to reduce social gatherings and the risk of virus transmission. The measure kicked in as the city confirmed 21,650 new coronavirus cases.A source had said the decision followed the circulation of posts on Chinese social media platforms Weibo and WeChat which compared scenes of Shenzhen’s empty streets and closed subway stations with Hong Kong’s crowded beaches and malls.
    The posts went viral among mainland online users, who criticised Hong Kong’s looser social-distancing measures, contrasting these with the lockdown across the border. They blamed Hongkongers for contributing to the surge in cases on the mainland.

    #Covid-19#migration#migrant#chine#hongkong#sante#frontiere#zerocovid#restrictionsanitaire#circulation#politiquesante

  • Coronavirus Hong Kong: use mainland Chinese help well, plan for next stage of battle and ensure social stability, top Beijing official tells local government | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3170759/coronavirus-hong-kong-use-mainland-chinese-help

    Coronavirus Hong Kong: use mainland Chinese help well, plan for next stage of battle and ensure social stability, top Beijing official tells local governmentHong Kong and Macau Affairs Office director Xia Baolong says city still facing uphill battle against pandemic. At high-level meeting in Shenzhen, he calls on local administration to plan for next phase of crisis, with focus on ‘three reductions’, referring to infections, severe cases and deaths
    Hong Kong’s government should distribute aid from the central government properly and plan for the next stage of the Covid-19 pandemic in an orderly way, a top Beijing official has told a high-level meeting in Shenzhen on the health crisis facing the financial hub. Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) director Xia Baolong also emphasised the need for local officials to safeguard social stability, according to the Hong Kong China News Agency. He was chairing the meeting on Wednesday after flying back to Shenzhen from the capital where he attended the annual “two sessions” of the nation’s parliament and top advisory body.Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of semi-official Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies think tank, said Beijing believed reforms were needed after the pandemic was under control, such as improving the government’s managerial abilities and the leadership capabilities of the executive branch.It was the ninth meeting of the tripartite coordination task force, involving Hong Kong and mainland officials, and the second in less than a week, with the last one taking place on March 11.Xia said in the latest meeting that the current epidemic situation in the city was still serious and the fight against the virus has remained an uphill battle.
    During the meeting, he also spoke via video link with teams sent to assist Hong Kong and called on the local government to speed up the distribution of Chinese medicine, boost the occupancy rate of isolation facilities and make good use of the medical professionals sent from the mainland.
    Xia went on to instruct the local administration to plan ahead for the next phase of the outbreak, focusing on the strategy of “three reductions, three focuses and one priority”.The first element refers to reducing infections, severe cases and deaths. The second involves three specific areas of focus: boosting vaccinations among the elderly and enforcing closed-loop staffing arrangements in care homes; strengthening the work of clinics, hospitals and isolation facilities; and identifying high-risk premises for children, seniors and the disabled, and stepping up protections there.
    Think tank vice-president Lau said Xia’s remarks not only focused on offering guidance and supervision, but also showed that Beijing would hold Hong Kong’s government accountable for failing to control the epidemic.
    “There is a need for improvement of our health care system and formulating contingency plans within the government on how to deal with such kinds of crisis.”Central authorities would look at improving the local government’s managerial abilities and its executive role, Lau said, adding the city needed to “prepare well for any upcoming sixth or seventh waves”.
    Lau suggested it was very rare that Beijing had to be so “hands-on” on Hong Kong’s issues, calling it proof that the city government’s poor handling of the outbreak had already greatly affected national interests.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#chine#macau#hongkong#pekin#sante#zerocovid#politique#retsrictionsanitaire#shenzen#pandemie

  • Covid-19 : la Chine confine les 9 millions d’habitants de la ville de Changchun
    https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2022/03/11/covid-19-la-chine-confine-les-9-millions-d-habitants-de-la-ville-de-changchu

    Covid-19 : la Chine confine les 9 millions d’habitants de la ville de Changchun
    Ce confinement est le plus important annoncé en Chine depuis celui de la métropole de Xi’an, au nord du pays, et de ses 13 millions d’habitants à la fin de l’année dernière.Confrontée à sa pire flambée épidémique depuis deux ans, la Chine a dû se résoudre, vendredi 11 mars, à confiner la grande ville de Changchun, dans le nord-est du pays. Les 9 millions d’habitants de la ville chinoise ont été placés en confinement, ont annoncé les autorités locales. Seule une personne par foyer est autorisée à sortir, une fois tous les deux jours, a fait savoir la mairie, qui se prépare à dépister toute la population. Ce confinement est le plus important annoncé en Chine depuis celui de la métropole de Xi’an, au nord du pays, et de ses 13 millions d’habitants à la fin de l’année dernière. La mairie a ordonné la fermeture des écoles et des commerces ainsi que des transports publics. Il est défendu de quitter la ville, qui a enregistré plusieurs centaines de cas au cours des derniers jours. Changchun, la ville de « l’éternel printemps », est la capitale de la province du Jilin, frontalière de la Corée du Nord. Ce pays fermé n’a jusqu’à présent jamais fait état de cas de Covid-19.Par ailleurs, la Chine a annoncé vendredi qu’elle allait introduire l’usage de tests antigéniques rapides du Covid-19 pour la première fois. La Commission nationale de santé a précisé que des kits d’autotest seraient disponibles à l’achat pour les établissements hospitaliers et les citoyens auprès « des pharmacies de détail, des plates-formes de vente en ligne et d’autres canaux ». Le pays, où le virus a été la première fois détecté fin 2019, a rapidement endigué l’épidémie dès le printemps 2020, en adoptant des mesures de confinement très strictes frappant des villes entières. Le géant asiatique est ainsi parvenu à largement enrayer la contagion, avec un bilan officiel d’un peu plus de 100 000 cas, dont 4 636 mortels exactement, en l’espace de deux ans. Le régime communiste y voit la supériorité de son système autoritaire par rapport aux nombreuses morts enregistrées par les pays démocratiques. Mais la souche Omicron est à l’origine de flambées localisées qui concernaient vendredi 1 369 personnes exactement au cours des dernières vingt-quatre heures, selon les données du ministère de la santé.
    Un bilan qui reste faible en comparaison avec le reste du monde mais qui n’en est pas moins le plus élevé pour la Chine depuis la première phase de l’épidémie, début 2020. Sur ce total, les autorités ont dénombré 158 cas importés et 814 cas asymptomatiques, qui font l’objet d’un décompte séparé. Ce pic intervient alors que les cas échappent à tout contrôle dans le territoire de Hongkong, au sud du pays, où les hôpitaux débordent de patients et où la population locale dévalise les supermarchés dans la panique, craignant un confinement. Les autorités chinoises redoutent que des habitants potentiellement contaminés se soient rendus clandestinement sur le continent en provenance de Hongkong, répandant la contagion.
    Les autorités n’ont toutefois pas laissé envisager un abandon de la stratégie du « zéro Covid » lors de la session annuelle du Parlement qui s’est conclue vendredi. « Nous devons constamment affiner les mesures » contre l’épidémie, a simplement dit le premier ministre, Li Keqiang, lors d’un discours fleuve devant les députés le 5 mars. De nombreuses parties du pays sont désormais confrontées à un durcissement des mesures antiépidémiques, notamment Shanghaï, la ville la plus peuplée de Chine, avec 25 millions d’habitants, où les élèves vont désormais devoir suivre leurs cours en ligne.Les autorités municipales se sont efforcées ces derniers mois d’imposer des mesures ciblées, imposant des confinements stricts seulement à quelques quartiers ou bien dans des lieux où des cas ont été répertoriés. Il arrive ainsi que des personnes se retrouvent coincées sur leur lieu de travail ou au restaurant en attendant de pouvoir être dépistées. L’attente du résultat peut aller jusqu’à quarante-huit heures.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#chine#hongkong#sante#variant#omicron#zerocovid#circulation#confinement

  • As Hong Kong tightens Covid restrictions again, residents complain of being held ‘hostage’ | Hong Kong | The Guardian
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/09/as-hong-kong-tightens-covid-restrictions-again-residents-complain-of-be
    https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/b976a0a415c91e7b781e7750530e62b5ccec6d70/0_400_5702_3424/master/5702.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-ali

    As Hong Kong tightens Covid restrictions again, residents complain of being held ‘hostage’
    Last modified on Wed 9 Feb 2022 06.19 GMT
    A viral open letter from a member of Facebook group, HK Moms, marked something of a shift in public opinion. The group is the type not usually preoccupied with the city’s political upheavals, but the letter revealed a limit had been reached.
    Addressing Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, it accused the government of holding its citizens hostage with new Covid measures – the toughest restrictions since June 2020.
    “You have tried for two years, and failed. When will you stop holding the citizen of this once Asia’s city hostage? When does the goalpost stop moving further and further away every time we get closer? When do we say enough is enough Carrie Lam?”
    On Wednesday leaks to the media, which had become semi-regular, claimed authorities were set to announce a third consecutive record day, with 1,161 new confirmed cases and about 800 preliminary positives. The figure doubled Tuesday’s, which in turn had doubled Sunday’s.
    In response, from Thursday Hongkongers will be subject to intense social restrictions including limits of two people gathering in public, or two households in private. There were some exemptions for carers and tradespeople, but the city was warned that authorities have strong contact tracing mechanism, and would be watching.The government also added religious premises, shopping malls, department stores, supermarkets, markets and barbers or hair salons to the forthcoming compulsory vaccine pass system, and doubled the financial penalties for non-compliance with compulsory testing orders.Hair salons and religious venues will be shut for at least two weeks. Photos on social media showed queues out the door of one barber.
    The new rules add to existing measures which has already seen much of Hong Kong largely shut down, just as other countries – including those which had also once chased zero-Covid – begin to open. It also coincides with city-wide food shortages related to border closures and Covid cases among truck drivers who bring produce in from China to the import-dependant market, leading to stressful scenes, shop closures, and inflated prices.On Tuesday Lam conceded people felt the strategy known as “dynamic zero” came at a “great economic and social price”.“But I would like to make it clear, people’s lives and health, and for the local medical system not to collapse, these are more in line with Hong Kong’s public interest.”
    Hong Kong’s battle with Covid has been more successful than many other nations – it has recorded about 16,600 cases and 213 deaths – containing several major waves of outbreak and often bringing the number down to zero.But the tough methods have also drawn extensive complaints for frequent changes to unnecessarily convoluted rules, sudden blanket travel bans, occasional bouts of illogicality or farce like the closure of beaches or the mass cull of pet hamsters, and instances of failure or incompetence, like the overwhelming of the Penny’s Bay quarantine facility.The fact that this all kept continuing even as vaccination rates increased, treatments improved, and the world began to reopen to itself began to grate.“We have done all you ask,” the HK Moms letter said.“We sat quietly as mental health takes a toll, as families are torn apart and as businesses close down because it is all in the hope of China reopening our borders,” it said.Reopening borders to mainland China has community support, according to recent polling. But Beijing will not give the go-ahead unless Hong Kong can reach and maintain zero-Covid.Despite rising public anger, Lam is sticking to dynamic zero, a containment strategy with the constant goal of reaching zero cases. Health experts have said the method, of quickly controlling outbreaks and then relaxing once it’s done, is uncontroversial as long as it works.“The zero-phase is not too bad apart from for people who have to travel,” said Prof Ben Cowling, an epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong, said.
    “The problem is if Hong Kong can’t sustain zero Covid what’s going to happen. If this outbreak gets bigger and bigger, what’s next? That could take a long time and there are costs in those measures.”

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#hongkong#chine#sante#zerocovid#dynamiquezero#frontiere#circulation#economie

  • Coronavirus: domestic helper shortage continues to plague Hong Kong as number of such workers hits new low | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/society/article/3165291/coronavirus-domestic-helper-shortage-continues-plague-hong

    Coronavirus: domestic helper shortage continues to plague Hong Kong as number of such workers hits new low
    Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong says flight bans as a result of Omicron outbreak cancelled out efforts to make more quarantine facilities available. Number of domestic helpers in city has dropped to 339,451 by the end of December from about 400,000 in January 2020
    The number of domestic helpers in Hong Kong has fallen to 339,451 by the end of December, according to labour chief Law Chi-kwong. Photo: Nora Tam. Hong Kong families struggling amid a shortage of domestic helpers have yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel, after the number of such workers in the past two years hit a new low of about 339,000, the city’s labour chief has said.Writing on his official blog, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong said authorities had made progress in finding more quarantine facilities for incoming domestic helpers, before the Omicron coronavirus variant began to affect Hong Kong and Southeast Asia last month.
    “In mid-December, we made headway in increasing quarantine facilities for helpers … but such ‘dawning light’ soon vanished,” he said. “It was because the pandemic situation in the Philippines had rocketed … In early January, more than 40 per cent of 175 Filipino domestic helpers tested positive. It was very shocking.” Law said the number of domestic helpers had decreased in Hong Kong in the past two years, noting that there were about 400,000 of them in the city in January 2020. They mainly come from the Philippines or Indonesia. That figure dropped to 350,050 in November last year, and then to 339,451 by the end of December. It was the lowest figure since at least the end of 2016, when there were 351,513 helpers in Hong Kong. The Post has reached out to the government for pre-2016 statistics.
    From September to November last year, the figure decreased month-on-month by about 1,300 to 1,900. But from November to December, the number fell by more than 10,000.
    Law said he feared the figure indicated that many Filipino helpers could have been left stranded by the flight ban after returning home for the Christmas and New Year holidays, adding the government would closely monitor the situation in both the Philippines and Indonesia. “[In mid-January,] the average number of coronavirus infections in the Philippines peaked at about 35,000 per day. Now it has decreased by about a third, but we don’t know whether it … will reach a low level so that the flights can be resumed,” he said. The pandemic situation in Indonesia was also worsening, albeit at a slower pace than in the Philippines, he added. At the start of the pandemic, domestic helpers were allowed to be isolated for a fortnight in dozens of quarantine hotels for incoming travellers. Authorities later lengthened the quarantine period for all visitors to three weeks, and only designated a few hotels, as well as about 1,000 units in the government-run Penny’s Bay quarantine centre, for arriving helpers. Law said authorities had managed to find more quarantine hotels for incoming helpers in August last year, but the effect was cancelled out as the Penny’s Bay spaces were reserved for other purposes. “Even those domestic helpers who had yet to finish their quarantine had to be moved to the designated hotels,” he noted.
    The Labour Department said on Thursday that apart from the three designated quarantine hotels for incoming helpers, two more facilities – O’Hotel and iclub Ma Tau Wai Hotel – would be made available.
    The hotels will provide an additional 491 rooms, taking the total number of quarantine spaces for arriving helpers to 2,779. More quarantine hotel rooms needed for domestic workers: Hong Kong minister. Mike Cheung, president of the Hong Kong-based Overseas Employment Centre, said Law should consider allowing helpers to be quarantined in other hotels, not just the designated five. “This two-track policy was adopted due to uncertainty about anti-pandemic measures in the Philippines and Indonesia. Now that we can see the domestic helpers are not bringing the coronavirus to Hong Kong, employers should be allowed to book other quarantine hotels,” he argued. But Betty Yung Ma Shan-yee, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers Association, said she was not so sure about relaxing the rules for helpers, especially when the government had recently shortened the quarantine period for all incoming travellers from three weeks to two.
    Latest ban as city braces for a fifth wave of infections leads to frantic scramble among travellers to cancel and rebook flights, hotel rooms Industry figures warn domestic helper shortage will worsen, and if long wait continues, market may move elsewhere. Hong Kong’s two-week flight ban has dashed the hopes of those planning family reunions as well as disrupted plans for incoming domestic helpers, with the Philippines, Britain and the United States among eight countries hit with tightened rules aimed at containing a Covid-19 surge. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced on Wednesday the ban on passenger flights from Australia, Britain, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, and the United States for 14 days until January 21, starting from Saturday. Travellers who were recently in those countries or had transited through them will be barred from returning to the city for two weeks.Government pandemic advisers also warned earlier on Wednesday that a fifth wave of infections had started, calling on authorities to immediately tighten social-distancing rules to cut off up to 10 invisible transmission chains in the community.
    A popular Facebook group for travellers to Hong Kong was flooded with messages following Lam’s announcement, as people scrambled to clarify the rules and rebook tickets. Some residents were looking to do a “wash out”, which means staying for 21 days in a country that has not been banned, before returning to Hong Kong. Some complained they had already changed their flights and hotel bookings numerous times, as airlines have cancelled or suspended routes to Hong Kong in recent weeks. Many speculated that the flight suspension of the eight countries would be extended beyond the current two weeks, pointing to previous examples last year. A 33-year-old investment banker, who asked to remain anonymous, had travelled to Britain on December 18 to visit his parents who live there, rather than asking them to come back to their hometown and face quarantine for 21 days. His wife and baby daughter had already flown out in August. The family had planned to fly back together in January, typically a busy time of the year for his industry. His flight was cancelled and rebooked for January 15, before the suspension was announced. He said while his US firm in Hong Kong was understanding, the situation was not ideal as he was now considering spending 21 days in a third country to return. “I do think things will only get worse and not better in Hong Kong. So my inclination is that the flight ban will be extended, which makes it very difficult, then what do I do?” he lamented. The banker said he knew “a lot” of people from the finance sector who had moved back to their home countries permanently or earlier than they had originally planned, with others considering leaving the city. Hong Kong has stood firm on its zero-Covid stance, aligned with mainland China. “They can’t handle the uncertainty. A lot of them just need to see their family,” he said.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#hongkong#sante#travailleurmigrant#retour#quarantaine#vaccination

  • A Hongkong, la quarantaine passe de trois à deux semaines pour les voyageurs
    https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2022/01/27/a-hongkong-la-quarantaine-passe-de-trois-a-deux-semaines-pour-les-voyageurs_

    A Hongkong, la quarantaine passe de trois à deux semaines pour les voyageurs
    Hongkong a annoncé jeudi 27 janvier que la quarantaine obligatoire à l’hôtel pour les voyageurs en provenance de l’étranger, l’une des plus longues au monde, sera réduite de trois à deux semaines à partir du 5 février.« Tous les arrivants à Hongkong seront soumis à une quarantaine obligatoire de quatorze jours dans des hôtels désignés », a annoncé la dirigeante de Hongkong, Carrie Lam. Une décision « purement basée sur la science », au vu de la période d’incubation plus courte du nouveau variant Omicron, a-t-elle dit. A l’issue de la quarantaine, les voyageurs devront observer une période « d’autocontrôle » pendant sept jours, a-t-elle précisé.A l’instar de la Chine continentale, le territoire poursuit une stratégie zéro Covid qui a permis de contenir les contaminations à un très faible niveau mais a quasiment coupé ce centre international de la finance du reste du monde depuis deux ans.
    Depuis l’émergence du variant très contagieux Omicron sur son sol, Hongkong a renforcé ses restrictions de voyage, en fermant ses frontières aux arrivées de huit pays et en interdisant aux passagers de 153 pays de transiter via Hongkong. Ces mesures restent en vigueur. Les mesures sanitaires prises dans toute la ville – comme la fermeture des restaurants à 18 heures – seront prolongées de deux semaines, tandis que les écoles restent fermées à l’approche du Nouvel An lunaire. La longue période de quarantaine a été très décriée par les milieux d’affaires, les entreprises affirmant que cette politique empêchait l’arrivée de nouveaux talents à Hongkong.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#hongkong#chine#sante#quarantaine#zerocovid#circulation#frontiere

  • Omicron: Hong Kong to shorten its 21-day quarantine requirement for incoming travellers | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3164934/omicron-hong-kong-shorten-its-21-day-quarantine

    Omicron: Hong Kong to shorten its 21-day quarantine requirement for incoming travellers
    Move comes after persistent complaints from travellers and companies paying high quarantine costs for employees. Hong Kong will shorten its 21-day quarantine requirement for incoming travellers given the much shorter incubation period of the Omicron variant, the Post has learned.A government source said Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor was expected to make the announcement at 5.30pm on Thursday.The move came after persistent complaints from travellers and companies paying high quarantine costs for employees.Currently, Hong Kong residents returning from 147 countries or places deemed high-risk are subject to 21 days of quarantine at designated hotels. Those arriving from 15 countries must isolate at the Penny’s Bay quarantine facility for four days before completing the rest of their quarantine at a hotel. Unvaccinated residents returning from medium-risk countries are also subject to the same.The isolation periods for vaccinated travellers from medium- and low-risk countries are 14 and seven days respectively. But currently nowhere overseas is deemed low-risk by the Hong Kong government.Hong Kong may set new record for daily confirmed coronavirus infections
    27 Jan 2022. Last June when the pandemic situation had stabilised, the quarantine period for high-risk countries was cut to 14 days for travellers who could produce a positive antibody test. Flights from eight major countries, including Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Britain and the United States have been banned since the start of the fifth wave of infections, to prevent more imported cases from slipping into the community. Earlier this month, Hong Kong cut the quarantine period of Covid-19 patients’ close contacts from the previous 21 days to 14, citing reasons of pressure on the city’s quarantine facilities and the shorter incubation period of people carrying the Omicron variant.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#hongkong#sante#circulation#frontiere#omicronquarantaine#test#isolement#australie#canada#france#inde#pakistan#philippines#grandebretagne#etatsunis#casimporte

  • Shenzhen toughens quarantine rules for arrivals from Hong Kong, authorities lock down third building at Omicron-stricken Kwai Chung Estate | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/3164610/hong-kong-lock-down-third-building-omicron

    Shenzhen toughens quarantine rules for arrivals from Hong Kong, authorities lock down third building at Omicron-stricken Kwai Chung Estate
    Health authorities in Hong Kong expand lockdown at public housing estate, with five-day order issued for Ha Kwai House
    uThe mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen will impose stricter quarantine rules from Wednesday on travellers from Hong Kong, where a growing Omicron outbreak has prompted authorities to place a third block at a stricken public housing estate under lockdown.Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Tuesday pleaded for understanding from the 35,000 residents at Kwai Chung Estate in Kwai Tsing district, saying decisive action was needed to halt the outbreak, which had grown to 276 confirmed and preliminary-positive cases now spread across 12 of the 16 blocks.
    As part of that effort, health authorities not only locked down a third block for five days of testing but also extended restrictions placed upon another tower by two more days, meaning residents will only be allowed to leave on Friday after having spent a full week confined almost entirely to their flats.
    In announcing the change in the quarantine arrangements for Shenzhen, the city’s government said travellers arriving from Hong Kong would be required to spend 14 days isolated at designated facilities and another seven days at home for health observation, in addition to testing negative for Covid-19 within 24 hours of crossing the border.Previously, they would only need seven days of quarantine at designated facilities, seven days of home quarantine and seven days of health observation, in addition to the same testing requirement. Hong Kong recorded 124 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, the third day in a row in which the tally exceeded 100. Health authorities said 94 of the latest cases were local, while the remaining 30 were imported, including 21 crew members of a ship that arrived from India.

    #Covid-19#migrant#migration#chine#hongkong#sante#frontiere#circulation#quarantaine#isolement#test#omicron