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Hong Kong’s commitment to zero-covid has been exposed in a new propaganda video showing schoolgirls wearing double face masks while playing the flute.
The video, released by the Hong Kong Education Bureau ahead of China’s National Day on October 1, has been ridiculed online.
More than 400 schoolchildren were invited to participate in the five-minute ad titled “Young China Says,” which shows them participating in a variety of artistic activities, from singing to martial arts, all while wearing face masks.
After 45 seconds, the video shows two schoolgirls wearing cumbersome double masks with a mouth opening and a secondary flap covering their flutes.
Social media users have expressed their bewilderment online, with South China Morning Post correspondent Jeffie Lam writing, “This city never amazes me,” along with the hashtag #maskingtilltheendoftheworld.
The video release came as Hong Kong announced earlier this week that Covid restrictions, including social distancing, wearing masks in public places and digital health codes to enter public locations, would remain in effect for at least another two weeks.
Hong Kong education bureau has been mocked online for forcing schoolgirls to wear double masks while playing flute in new propaganda video
Despite trying to follow China’s lead in pushing for zero Covid, Hong Kong has struggled much more than the mainland to contain the virus.
Like China, Singapore, New Zealand and Taiwan, Hong Kong’s travel restrictions helped wipe out the virus in 2020 as the pandemic left a spate of deaths across much of the rest of the world.
But as an international hub, Hong Kong struggled to keep the virus out indefinitely and was unable to implement the kind of citywide lockdowns used in the authoritarian mainland.
The Omicron variant tore through mostly unvaccinated elderly victims, overwhelming hospitals that were not adequately prepared.
Despite strict travel restrictions and social distancing rules, Hong Kong had one of the world’s highest per capita death rates, with nearly 10,000 deaths out of a population of 7.4 million.
The ad shows school children, all wearing masks, participating in various artistic activities, from calligraphy to martial arts
The video was released by the Hong Kong Education Bureau ahead of China’s National Day on October 1.
And the severe restrictions have had a significant impact on Hong Kong’s economy as the city is currently in a technical recession – two consecutive quarters of negative growth.
Finance chief Paul Chan has warned that Hong Kong’s budget deficit is expected to reach HK$100 billion ($12.7 billion) this year, twice the original estimates.
But people in Hong Kong saw a glimmer of hope in the easing of Covid restrictions yesterday as the city finally announced an end to the hotel quarantine that has battered the economy and kept the financial hub internationally isolated.
The long-awaited move brings relief to residents and businesses urging the city to rejoin the rest of the world in resuming unimpeded travel and living with Covid-19.
The announcement leaves mainland China as the only major economy to still have a lengthy quarantine for international arrivals.
Chief Executive John Lee said the current three days of hotel quarantine would be reduced to zero for those coming from abroad.
Yesterday, Hong Kong finally announced it would end the hotel quarantine that has battered the economy and kept the financial hub internationally isolated
Chief Executive John Lee (pictured yesterday) said the current three days of hotel quarantine would be reduced to zero for those coming from abroad
From September 26, travelers will be subject to PCR testing on arrival and will not be able to visit restaurants and bars for the first three days under a system the authorities have dubbed ‘0+3’.
“Under this arrangement, the quarantine hotel system will be canceled,” Lee told reporters.
Overseas arrivals will also require further PCR testing on days two, four and six in the city.
Tourists who test positive will be isolated in hotel rooms at their own expense. Most residents can isolate at home, but those who cannot can be sent to government agencies.
Authorities also said they are lifting quotas for arrivals from mainland China – but those going in the opposite direction must still be quarantined under Beijing’s strict zero-Covid rules.