Monday, 25 July 2022

“Empty airport is a sad symbol of Hong Kong’s economic losses”

Arrivals Hall, HK airport 
A letter from a fellow Gweilo. Member of our own family had the same experience recently. Weird, creepy, empty Hong Kong airport, bustling, busy European airports. The people that are there in HK, are in full hazmat suits. This is Paul Serfaty:

Daily, we see the human and emotional toll of Hong Kong’s Covid-19 policies, inflexibly implemented by an unlamented ex-leader. Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor turned Hong Kong’s early pandemic triumph into a mortification of the economic flesh, as evidenced by our empty malls, absent tourists, closed businesses and departing residents.

Aside from the human loss, there is the continuous waste of previously invested capital. This was brought sharply home by my recent journey to Hong Kong International Airport for my first flight since the Covid-19 outbreak. I was met with an almost-empty Airport Express, its stations like ghost towns, and a shuttered retail floor. Its once-bustling aisles silent, the airport appeared like the poorest cousin of a rich family now fallen into destitution.

The plight of our once-proud travel hub, one of the best and most respected in the world, could be summarised by a single departure board – nay, a single panel of a single departure board — recording just 14 flights from 9pm to 9am, one cancelled.

And for what? The health risks in Hong Kong are now tiny and almost costless to manage, and the border with the motherland will not reopen any time soon.

Under John Lee Ka-chiu’s revived leadership, let this dramatic imbalance – between billions of invested tax dollars going virtually unused, and the invisible cost of ensuring all unvaccinated, older, and at-risk citizens are fully indemnified against virus variants – encourage our chief executive to abandon our de facto isolation, in phases if need be, to restore our “Asia’s World City” status.

A pragmatist, Lee would satisfy the needs of the business community, heed the pleas of affected citizens and recognise the expertise of medical specialists, if he did so.

Paul Serfaty, Mid-Levels

Top rated comment:

I agree with you Paul. During a visit to the airport I got talking to one of the personnel near the security gates And we both lamented at the dire state of our airport. He said he visited Canada and they had none of the rules enforced in HK. John needs to sort out the hotel quarantine issue and allow us to visit loved ones and loved ones to visit us. I lament how my beloved city has changed for the worse.