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NOT CLOSE ENOUGH FOR COMFORT: THE SOCIAL IMPACT OF COVID-19

31.03.2020

While it’s certainly not the worst tragedy to come out of the coronavirus pandemic, the new normal of quarantining and practising social distancing has crippled the social lives of Hong Kong-ers. It goes without saying that these measures are crucial in flattening the curve and requires everyone to do their part. Many thought Hong Kong had seen the worse of the virus, but the city was recently hit with a second wave once people began returning from overseas.

Due to widespread isolation and fear, Hong Kong now finds itself at a standstill. With protests already affecting the city, COVID-19 appears to be gearing up for the knockout. The travel and F&B industry have noticeably suffered in its wake, but how are the people of Hong Kong coping?

In a recent poll conducted by The Chinese University, they found that the wealthier a Hong Kong residents is, the harder they are finding it to cope with social isolation. Wanna know which of your friends got dough? Just see how much they’re complaining online!

When it came to finances, 33.8 per cent of participants said the outbreak has had a substantial and negative impact on their income. While another 47.3 per cent said, the effect was minimal.

When looking into people’s psychological state, 32.1 per cent said there has been a substantial amount of stress. In comparison, 52.8 per cent said the impact was mild.

When asked if daily life had been affected, such as work, school or meals, 51.4 per cent stated that the negative impact was significant. No surprises that when it came to social life, 53.6 per cent said the coronavirus outbreak has had a massive and adverse effect on them.

Hong Kong people are certainly used to living on top of one another. One of the densest cities in the world, its culture is very much entwined with people being communal and in close proximity. Just think of the MTR. However, with growing travel restrictions, alcohol bans and limitations on gatherings does raise concerns on how Hong Kong will continue to weather this.

Prolonged isolation can lead to mood problems, anxiety, depression and can cause headaches. Never the less, during this challenging time, we urge you all to practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently, check-in online with your loved ones, wear a mask and be kind to one another! Don’t stop exercising, don’t stop creating, don’t read the news excessively and lean on others wherever you can.

This isn’t our first rodeo, after all, Hong Kong faced a SARS outbreak in 2003 and managed to bounce back with gusto. Though with the current political climate coupled with this pandemic, we’re left wondering how the city will find its stride again.

Time will tell. Stay positive and do your part. Who knew you could save the world by staying in bed eh?

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