Can Carrie Lam beat Omicron?

February 16, 2022 11:22
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (Photo: AFP)

Is there anyone who can curb the unpredictable and unstoppable Omicron?

Chief Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu and Executive Council member Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee had to stay home for two weeks after his maid and her driver tested positive for Covid.

It makes people wonder how safe our Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is, given her insistence not to wear a mask during public speaking because she said she wanted the people of Hong Kong to feel what the Chief Executive is feeling.

A staff member of the Chief Executive’s Office tested positive, although the office said he was not in contact with Lam. Last week, a local reporter who attended her press conference tested positive.

We hope Lam, the No.1 leader to fight the virus, could stay healthy in one of the most important political moments as the nomination for the next Chief Executive would open next week.

Whether she could beat omicron could quite possibly affect if she would continue to rule for another five years. Of course, the issue is not whether Lam would get Covid but whether the Covid would make her more popular.

In the latest poll by Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute, Lam’s popularity rating was 31.9, down 1.9, or the lowest since June 2021. Her overall score was a negative 53.

Poor girl. Some 70 per cent of respondents opposed to her leadership, of which 34 per cent of respondents gave her a zero.

Given the whole city was furious for the inconvenience experienced in the last three weeks, it is understandable that Lam was the scapegoat for the so-called “dynamic zero” strategy in the near lockdown situation.

Restaurants and retail had no heartbeat. But worse still, the medical system was over-flooded as the number of infected cases grew at a geometric rate with over 1,500 cases per day.

Lam admitted the authority was unable to keep pace with their testing and isolation mandate but stressed that it is not an option to surrender.

Lam knew too well that some provincial governors lost their jobs because of their failure to contain the virus.

Just yesterday President Xi instructed via Vice-premier Han Zheng that the No.1 task for Hong Kong is to control the pandemic and China will fully support Hong Kong.

To some observers, that means Beijing is ready to take control of the situation. As such, her game is on the line.

With the nomination period for Chief Executive election officially beginning on Sunday, there have been words circulating that former Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Regina Ip are preparing to run – once they got the green light to go.

Good luck to Hong Kong!

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EJ Insight writer