Web-based seminar on ‘Containing COVID-19—When & What Normalcy will Return to Hong Kong?” in collaboration with Our Hong Kong Foundation

In collaboration with OHKF, Prof EK Yeoh shared his expert views in a web-based seminar on containing COVID-19 and strategies that require whole-of-society collaboration to achieve a new normalcy.

Professor Yeoh thought that business will no longer be as usual and pointed out the urgent need for well thought-out risk-assessed and risk-mitigated strategies to meet all possible contingencies of the global public health crisis. As the world shifts focus from control of Covid-19 risks to exit strategies for physical distancing and mitigation of socioeconomic impactinfection prevention and control must be integrated into businesses and social lives. Professor Yeoh highlighted that some of the measures which are perceived to be time-limited could indeed become new norms, including personal protective measures like hand hygiene and cough etiquette, and enablers of a Covid-19-free environment like sanitation and ventilation.

Professor Yeoh highlighted that countering the potential resurgence of Covid-19 should be everyone’s business. He emphasised the importance of a whole-of-society effort and collaboration between all sectors: the Government, business sector and the civil society in aspiring for a ‘Covid-19-free and achieving a ‘Covid-19-contained Hong Kong. Creative strategies need to be devised and adopted in moving the entire society closer towards establishing a ‘new normalcy’. As the Government leads efforts in reinforcing stringent health surveillance protocols to prevent re-entry of SARS-CoV-2 alongside case detection and contact tracing in enhancing preparedness for potential resurgence, businesses need to create safe and hygienic environments while the civil society adjusts in adopting sustainable physical distancing and personal protective measures.

On the role of the private sector in exit strategies, Professor Yeoh pointed to the opportunities the ‘new normal’ could bring for businesses and industries through new standards, services, models and products. Professor Yeoh envisaged that there would be opportunities arising from this crisis of vertical and horizontal integration of service lines, citing the example of where airline, travel, hotel and retail industries, together with the Government, could enable Covid-19-free experiences for visitors.

‘The battle against Covid-19 will be a long one, but we can achieve a new kind of normalcy for Hong Kong amidst efforts to contain and mitigate Covid-19. Multi-sectoral collaboration to seize the opportunities arising from the crisis which take advantage of sustainable creative measures and perseverance in compliance in a culture of physical distancing are key to moving towards a Covid-19-free Hong Kong’, Professor Yeoh said.