November 26, 2021 10:20
Photo: Reuters

It really is time for the adults to impose some basic common sense in the kindergarten that poses for a government.

Where in the world would you have a major institution run by the inhabitants of the crêche?

Hong Kong’s quarantine regulations bear little, if any, relationship to science and none whatsoever to common sense.

So enamoured is the administration with locking people up that citizens who are wholly innocent of any offence other than spending time beyond our shores are subjected to three weeks’ imprisonment at their own expense.

Unless, of course, you happen to be a film star, CEO of a major institution or a government official, all of whom appear to be exempt.

What does one have to do to penetrate the ultra thick skulls with the knowledge that Covid-19 in its various iterations cannot be exterminated but is here to stay?

Common strains of influenza can and regularly do kill people, particularly those with an underlying health condition but you are not quarantined lest you contract it.

Rubella – commonly known as measles – kills over 100,000 people a year, but we don’t confine children lest they contract it, prudent parents ensure their offspring are vaccinated against it.

Given an incubation period of 4-5 days, three weeks committed to a dreary hotel room and fed like battery hens, is an exercise in idiocy.

Clearly, what passes for brains in the corridors of Tamar, has not yet reached the joined-up writing stage of mental development.

Hong Kongers diligently don their masks in public, 70% of the population have been vaccinated and everywhere that people gather is awash with plastic screens.

The leave-home-safe app is mandatory in government establishments and freely adopted in almost every restaurant, hotel, bar and multi-storey building. Now the genius of government is to make it compulsory for everyone everywhere, without exception.

So, how are the blind and the elderly without a smart phone to be able to navigate in this Orwellian dystopia?

Those who are unable to think through the ramifications of bureaucratic dictat are what the Irish label “eejuts”.

Indeed, viral idiocy is rampant and flourishing in the corridors of power.

Each imported case of Covid is seized upon with the enthusiasm of a committed lepidopterist discovering a rare breed of butterfly and splashed across the newspapers.

That such cases are isolated and extremely rare appears not to have been recognised in the nursery and we know that nanny is deaf.

What is not publicised is the increasing incidence of psychiatric damage being caused by all this mindless incarceration.

At one extreme are the suicides and at the other is the long term depression that ex-quarantinees suffer.

Virtually every prison system penalises any serious infraction by the inmates with a period in solitary isolation.

In Hong Kong the isolation cell is reserved for those who have the temerity to step outside our borders.

Make no mistake, solitary isolation is a severe form of punishment, one that can and does cause grave psychiatric or psychological damage.

Talk to anyone who has been through this particular form of mental torture and they will tell you of the disorientation experienced upon re-entering the free world.

Step out of your quarantine hotel and there is an other-worldly apprehension of being in proximity to other people, an affect that lasts for up to 48 hours.

For some victims the enforced isolation brings on an intractable depression that may go untreated or subjects the sufferer to long term therapy.

As correctional services the world over have long recognised, solitary confinement is traumatic. Many people turn inward on themselves absent social intercourse and develop a wide range of psychosomatic conditions.

Clinicians in both psychiatry and psychology are acutely aware of the harm that isolation engenders but it is regrettable that Hong Kong’s specialists in these fields are not bringing the combined weight of their opinion to bear on government.

Naturally, we do not expect the bureaucracy to have insight into these consequences of their blind autocracy, especially one that nestles in the security of its own infallibility.

The fragrant harbour has been reduced to living in a test tube, a self-imposed pariah people prohibited from ordinary human contact with the inhabitants of the rest of the world.

Life is for actual living not one conducted on Zoom.

Just pause for a moment and think back to the last time that you had to comfort someone who was suffering from personal loss, illness or bad news: the instinctive response is to reach out, to embrace or make physical contact.

A child cries, we comfort them in our arms.

This is a natural and necessary human reaction which quarantining denies. You cannot do this on Zoom.

Life as we know it and need it cannot go on under a viciously draconian regime that is a gross over-reaction to the problem posed by Covid.

Hong Kong is increasingly isolated from the real world and serious damage is being inflicted not only on mental health but on business relationships with those in other jurisdictions.

How patriotic is it to inflict such self-harming proclivities on the population?

The most serious virus here is covidiocy.

-- Contact us at [email protected]

King's Counsel

Most Popular 24 Hrs