RPC Hong Kong location at One Taikoo Place

Hong Kong courts keeping calm and carrying on

Published on 11 November 2020

Tropical Storm "Nangka" passed to the south-west of Hong Kong by about 500 kms on 13 October 2020; the most distant tropical storm to trigger a No. 8 typhoon signal since at least 1960. While schools, businesses, public buildings, the courts and the like were closed for the day, it did not feel like much of a storm and, for many, it was not a "day off" given that most people are quite used to working from home by now.

Some eight months after the outbreak of the pandemic, the courts officially resumed normal business on 15 September 2020, while social distancing and crowd management measures in court buildings are likely to remain in place for a long time. 

Autumn 2020

At the time of writing, the level of daily reported cases of COVID-19 infections has declined to single figures, most of which are so-called "imported" cases i.e., residents returning to Hong Kong.  The current situation appears to be a continuation of a "Wave-3" of infections and other jurisdictions could learn much from how Hong Kong has coped.  

In truth, the virus never appears to have left the community.  A widespread voluntary testing programme conducted for two weeks in September 2020 screened approximately a quarter of the city's 7.5 million population and uncovered approximately two cases of infection per 100,000 people tested.  At the time of writing, there have been approximately 5,400 reported cases of infection and 107 related deaths.  Relatively speaking, Hong Kong has coped well – while many attribute this success to a government which is experienced in dealing with coronavirus epidemics and a dedicated public health service, there is also the general resolve of the local community.   

Some of the previously stringent social distancing rules have been relaxed (and are likely to be further relaxed at this rate), although the wearing of face masks in public is still mandatory; this last factor has probably done more than anything to combat the spread of the virus in Hong Kong, until an effective vaccine is approved and widespread vaccination undertaken.

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