Friday, October 2, 2009

Message Overload

Now that the 60th anniversary celebrations have died down, I'm now in Hong Kong... where thousands of other mainlanders have come to spend their wads of money for the next week.

However, what's foremost in Hong Kong's mind is the A(H1N1) influenza virus. 

On the plane there was a serious video message about it in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, instructing people of the symptoms they should be looking out for, wash their hands frequently with soap, and that they should sneeze into a tissue and dispose of it immediately or sneeze into their sleeve. There were also suggestions of wearing masks in public and avoiding crowded areas.

We filled out mandatory health forms from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region asking us for our contact information, what our plane seat number was and which cities we've been in recently. 

When we disembarked from the plane, many Hong Kong airport staff wore masks and were scanning us for any high temperatures.

Hygiene is at a priority here -- the buttons on public elevators are covered with a sheet of plastic and a note that says this covering is changed every two hours. Gong fai, or "public chopsticks" are a common sight in restaurants so that no one's own chopsticks contaminate the dishes in front of them.

At the bank my teller did sneeze into his sleeve. Several people on the streets wore masks; granted it wasn't a majority, but it was definitely noticeable.

It's great to see such a high awareness and people taking as many precautions as possible. But the city now has a kind of anxious atmosphere that isn't quite comfortable, or maybe it's me being overwhelmed by the constant messages.


ChopSuey said...

The 60th anniversary celebrations did make it onto the news, but not as the first item. The parade did mainly because of the weaponry and the women battalions wearing miniskirts. Ugh.

gung said...

good public awareness campaign for hygiene.

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