Why is there an outbreak among VVIP drivers?

February 23, 2022 11:20
Photo: Reuters

First, it was the driver of Executive Council member Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee. Then the drivers of three-bureau secretaries, as well as those of Legco President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen and Henry Tang Ying-yen, member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Makes one wonder how many drivers of politicians and senior civil servants tested positive in the last 10 days – and more importantly, will there be more?

Luckily so far none of the political heavyweights is affected although they are deemed to be the close contacts.

God bless Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the No.1 person in charge of the battle with Omicron who shows up weekly to update the public about the government’s latest anti-virus policy.

In announcing the various measures including the mandatory universal testing and early summer school holidays before Easter, Lam, as opposed to public expectation, chose not to wear masks during her delivery. She will get the benefits of doubts for wearing masks in the car.

So, what can explain the driver spread chain that started with Regina Ip’s driver (February 14th) to Henry Tang’s driver (Tang announced on February 21st). One can get some hints from the recent emails of the Legco Secretariat, based on the analysis of Yu Kam-yin, a political writer of Hong Kong Economic Journal.

Right after Andrew Leung’s driver tested positive, an email was issued to remind people that Legco Complex is a non-smoking area and no one shall smoke.

This is followed by another email in the wake of increasing infected cases among the staff (including drivers), saying that to minimize contagion risk, the driver lounge had been closed until further notice. The lounge will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, and then a number of minor works will be undertaken. Yu learned that minor works will involve the installation of a washroom.

Putting them together, Yu gathered the series of driver Covid infection could very likely be connected to the lounge. Smoking is common among drivers awaiting their orders – and how many drivers have you seen would put on their masks during smoking?

The new toilet planned is obviously a move to limit the movement of drivers in search of washroom during their smoke breaks.

Perhaps the first step before all the virtual-lockdown measures is to simply discipline the civil servants, particularly the drivers, not to smoke under the damning Fifth Wave?

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EJ Insight writer