Zeman urges government to be clear on Covid messaging - RTHK
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Zeman urges government to be clear on Covid messaging

2022-03-02 HKT 00:14
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  • The prominent businessman Allan Zeman wants the administration to be more "proactive". File photo: RTHK
    The prominent businessman Allan Zeman wants the administration to be more "proactive". File photo: RTHK
Allan Zeman
Prominent businessman Allan Zeman has appealed to the government to be "proactive" in its messaging on Covid measures.

In an interview with RTHK's Joanne Wong, the chairman of the Lan Kwai Fong Group says he's very concerned by what he's seeing here, such as talent being driven away from Hong Kong by confusion and companies relocating.

"[Chief Executive] Carrie Lam was asked at one of her press conferences whether we would have a lockdown. And she said we won't have any lockdown in Hong Kong whatsoever and that kind of relaxed people," Zeman said.

"A few days later, the minister for health Sophia Chan was interviewed on radio and said a lockdown was not off the chart. We need one direction from government and positive messages. Even if you are going to do something, don't worry the people," he said

The health secretary had given the radio interview on Monday. In it, she said the government was still considering whether to impose a lockdown when it tests everyone in the SAR for Covid this month. Officials had said all seven million residents will be tested three times over March in an effort to contain the Omicron outbreak.

The Chief Executive Carrie Lam had, on a number of previous occasions, rejected the idea of a "complete, wholesale lockdown" to go with the mass-testing.

Zeman said the different messages had led to panic-buying, which has seen shelves emptied at major supermarkets over the past couple of days.

"I mean people are going out to empty grocery stores and shelves because they're worried they won't have enough food. You know, that's because of no message; you know they just start panicking. Rumours start flying around," he said.

When pressed about later appeals to the public not to panic, by Lam and the Chief Secretary John Lee, Zeman said they had been reacting.

"Those are reactive messages, not pro-active messages. You know the Chief Secretary, John Lee, is a very good man. He was just saying no need to overreact, after the overreaction. And so my point is, if we had the right messages at the beginning, people wouldn't worry," Zeman said.

Zeman also said he was concerned that a lot of people, with international links, were leaving in part due to the lengthy quarantine periods.

"Now they're moving their offices to Singapore and other places, which is hurtful to me, because Hong Kong has such a great reputation. We've always been a super-connector between China and the West. The West and the East," he said.

He called on the government to address the international community, and give them some confidence and some hope.