This coming week, one of the few doors open to the outside world will close. I’m obviously talking about the direct ‘corridor’ to the Hong Kong International Airport. It will close for an undefined period, a duration no one ventures to guess. There is no way that fact can be shown in a positive light.
It is often said that whenever we close a door, we should strive to open a window, at least. That is not happening here, and that can only increase the gloom from our current predicament. When one should be looking for new doors to open, as a matter of priority, we close one of the few existing ones – without any real explanation of why that is or had to be so.
It isn’t easy to understand why direct access to the Hong Kong airport cannot be maintained or even expended according to circumstances and needs. We duly celebrated its opening as a sign of an improving situation; the closing can only be lamented.
The remaining doors are very narrow, be it the Zhuhai crossing, or the odd flight out. Months without a single internal Covid-91 case, we live as a city under siege. Meanwhile, the economy keeps sinking to unbelievable lows. The economic, social, and emotional tolls will be very high.
Nobody doubts this economy is particularly sensitive to disturbances in the region because of political instability, health emergencies, and whatnot. In case of a crisis, such as the current one, the immediate consequences in both social and economic levels are clear; and the full longer-term impact, by nature uncertain, can be massive.
All this is well-know. It is a distinctive feature of the economy and has been so for decades. There are no easy or short-term solutions for that, as time has shown again and again. That is the reality; we have to deal with it. Admittedly, most of the answers do not depend on us alone, if at all, in some cases. But in what does, we should be showing our temper.
We can monitor our few and well-defined entry points appropriately. Opening more and broader doors should be our top priority. Pushing hard with our friends across the border is one way to go. Further, wouldn’t it be time to use our airport more intently, as a big window to the region and the world? Airlines with loads of craft stuck on the ground might even fly to the rescue.