SCMP opinion piece:
In chasing zero Covid-19 infections, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and others have become trapped by their own success
- As more transmissible variants emerge, places with very low infection levels must consider ever more stringent controls to maintain the status quo
- A reluctance to accept the virus will become endemic and populations that see no urgency in getting vaccinated mean the early victors may be the last to reopen
In places that have been successful in suppressing Covid-19, such as mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, there seems to be a reluctance to accept that the disease will become endemic.
The coronavirus variants that are emerging are more transmissible, so to achieve zero or close to zero infections in these places, health authorities say virus control measures must be more stringent than before.
This is neither wise nor tenable for much longer.
With highly effective vaccines available, health authorities in these places should be focused on rolling out mass vaccination quickly so as to achieve a degree of herd immunity. This would allow them to return to normality even if the virus continues to circulate at low levels, without overwhelming the health-care system.