Hong Kong forces children to wear double Covid masks while playing the FLUTE in propaganda video

Pro-China authorities in Hong Kong are mocked for forcing children to wear cumbersome double Covid masks while playing the FLUTE in propaganda video

  • Video released by Hong Kong’s Education Bureau ahead of China’s National Day
  • Two girls play flutes while wearing cumbersome double face masks with flaps
  • Comes as Hong Kong renewed its commitment to masks and social distancing 
  • But yesterday the city finally announced it would be relaxing hotel quarantine

Hong Kong‘s commitment to zero-Covid has been laid bare in a new propaganda video which shows schoolgirls wearing double face masks while they play the flute.

The video, which was released by Hong Kong’s Education Bureau ahead of China‘s National Day on October 1, has drawn ridicule online.

More than 400 schoolchildren were invited to participate in the five-minute long advert titled ‘Young China Says’, which shows them participating in a variety of artistic activities from singing to martial arts, all while wearing face masks. 

At the 45-second mark, the video shows two schoolgirls with cumbersome double masks which have a gap for the mouth and a secondary flap covering their flutes. 

Social media users have expressed their bemusement online, with the South China Morning Post correspondent Jeffie Lam writing: ‘This city never fails to surprise me,’ along with the hashtag #maskingtilltheendoftheworld.

The video release came as Hong Kong announced earlier this week that Covid restrictions, including social distancing, mask wearing in public places and digital health codes to enter public venues, would remain in place for at least another two weeks.

Hong Kong's Education Bureau has been mocked online for forcing schoolgirls to wear double masks while they played the flute in a new propaganda video

Hong Kong’s Education Bureau has been mocked online for forcing schoolgirls to wear double masks while they played the flute in a new propaganda video 

Despite trying to follow China’s lead in aiming for zero-Covid, Hong Kong has had a lot more difficulty than the mainland in trying to contain the virus.

Like China, Singapore, New Zealand and Taiwan, Hong Kong’s travel curbs helped stamp out the virus in 2020 as the pandemic left a wave of death across much of the rest of the globe.

But as an international hub, Hong Kong struggled to keep the virus out indefinitely and could not deploy the kind of city-wide lockdowns used on the authoritarian mainland.

The Omicron variant ripped through mostly unvaccinated elderly victims, overwhelming hospitals that were not adequately prepared.

Despite the tough travel curbs and social distancing rules, Hong Kong had one of the world’s highest per capita fatality rates, with nearly 10,000 deaths in a population of 7.4 million.

The advert shows schoolchildren, all wearing masks, participating in variety of artistic activities from calligraphy to martial arts

The advert shows schoolchildren, all wearing masks, participating in variety of artistic activities from calligraphy to martial arts

The video was released by Hong Kong's Education Bureau ahead of China's National Day on October 1

The video was released by Hong Kong’s Education Bureau ahead of China’s National Day on October 1

And the tough restrictions have had a significant impact on Hong Kong’s economy, with the city currently in a technical recession- two consecutive quarters of negative growth. 

Finance chief Paul Chan has warned Hong Kong’s fiscal deficit is expected to balloon to HK$100 billion ($12.7 billion) this year, twice initial estimates.

But people in Hong Kong saw a glimmer of hope for the easing of Covid restrictions yesterday when the city finally announced it would end hotel quarantine which has battered the economy and kept the finance hub internationally isolated.

The long-awaited move brings relief to residents and businesses clamouring for the city to rejoin the rest of the world in resuming unhindered travel and living with Covid-19.

The announcement leaves mainland China as the only major economy to still have lengthy quarantine for international arrivals.

Chief Executive John Lee said the current three days of hotel quarantine would be reduced to zero for those arriving from overseas.

Yesterday Hong Kong finally announced it would end hotel quarantine which has battered the economy and kept the finance hub internationally isolated

Yesterday Hong Kong finally announced it would end hotel quarantine which has battered the economy and kept the finance hub internationally isolated

Chief Executive John Lee (pictured yesterday) said the current three days of hotel quarantine would be reduced to zero for those arriving from overseas

Chief Executive John Lee (pictured yesterday) said the current three days of hotel quarantine would be reduced to zero for those arriving from overseas

From September 26, travellers will be subject to PCR tests on arrival and will be unable to visit restaurants and bars for the first three days under a system authorities have dubbed ‘0+3’.

‘Under this arrangement, the quarantine hotel system will be cancelled,’ Lee told reporters.

Overseas arrivals will also need further PCR tests on days two, four and six in the city.

Tourists who test positive face being isolated in hotel rooms at their own expense. Most residents can isolate at home, but those who cannot may be sent to government facilities.

Authorities also said they were lifting quotas on arrivals from mainland China – but those going in the opposite direction must still quarantine under Beijing’s strict zero-Covid rules.

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