Hong Kong released 286 people quarantined in a downtown hotel that was the site of the city’s first confirmed swine flu case. Another 61 were released from a holiday village and four were released from a local hospital.
Guests and staff at the Metropark Hotel in the Wanchai district were allowed to leave at 8:30 p.m. local time as their quarantine order expired and they showed no flu-like symptoms, York Chow, secretary for food and health, told reporters.
“They sacrificed freedom for seven days to give confidence to Hong Kong people” Chow told reporters outside the Metropark Hotel tonight. Donald Tsang, the city’s chief executive, spoke to guests and staff before they left the hotel and was seen bowing as he addressed them in the lobby.
It’s interesting how no one else is calling anymore, even out of curiosity, except maybe one or two in the day. There are a few possibilities that come to mind. One, I have just one or two friends (a revelation!). Two, the whole episode doesn’t merit serious concern (as I suspect and am inclined to agree with). Or three, they are all so busy with their own lives that they couldn’t really care less (as it probably is). The calls from the press have dwindled to next to nothing, just a few asking to confirm something or the other. Today’s news, tomorrow’s garbage, right?
Wrong. Because I feel that there are certainly larger issues to be considered here. “WHO kudos for the Hong Kong government’s action” or something was the caption on one news article I read. Really? Why? Because they shut down a hotel for a week with everyone inside? I think all concerned need to examine the methodology, because I believe it will never stand up to closer scrutiny. I fully agree with the intent, the idea, and the reasons behind it. They did the right thing – but the lacunae? You cannot imagine how ineffective this entire action would have been if this was a truly infectious disease. Maybe that was the intent, a drill, to see if it could work? Done this way, it couldn’t. All the uniforms of different protective clothing, the masked visages, the gloves, the ambulances and police vans make for excellent TV.