Articles: Healthcare

HK residents revolt against Covid-19 quarantine campReg 599A s2
Bloomberg, 7-May-2021
The residents are revolting! Good to see, as we have said, they probably don't fit the legal definition of "contacts" under Reg. 599A, namely that they are "likely" to have been exposed to risk of infection. Even less so in larger buildings like Tower 11 of Caribbean Coast, where 1027 residents were evacuated.
How to end HK's border lockdown
HK's economic recovery depends on fully re-opening its borders, but it can't when so few have been vaccinated. With near-zero COVID, we must use other vaccination incentives. We propose a 4-pronged solution, including a VacciLottery and an inbound travel exemption. (27-Apr-2021)
HK's inbound quarantine laws: dangerous, irrational and unconstitutional
We put our microscope on HK's inbound quarantine laws and find that the 21-day length of quarantine actually increases the risk to the community, Further, the ban on arrivals from 4 countries is irrational. Both fail to satisfy constitutional tests of proportionality. (16-Mar-2021)
COVID-19: were the lockdowns worth the socio-economic cost? Video replay
These are the slides from a "Webbinar" with David Webb hosted by Exeter College, Oxford University, this evening. As vaccines draw near, the debate on the global policy responses to the pandemic should begin. (4-Dec-2020)
Govt adopts part of our CICS proposal - now get it right
3 days after our article last Monday, the HK Govt began talking about a compensation scheme for virus-positive tests, to incentivise self-employed symptomatic people facing loss of income to come forward. But early reports suggest it will be too little and won't apply to close contacts, deterring people who are symptomatic if the close contact is a family member who will be deprived of income while in the quarantine camp. Get it right! (22-Nov-2020)
The geo-politics of HK's clunky contact-tracing app
We look at the deceptively-named "LeaveHomeSafe" app, and why it failed to adopt the automated technology worked out by Google and Apple for exposure notifications and instead resorted to a home-brewed QR-scanning system that few will use. The answer may lie in politics. (19-Nov-2020)
Webb on "Backchat" re Lantau Tomorrow and our proposal for a COVID Isolation Compensation SchemeCICS
RTHK, 19-Nov-2020
Part 2 on COVID and CICS begins at 47:26. See our article of 16-Nov-2020.
Discover COVID cases with behavioural economics, not force of law
The HK Government has again displayed its authoritarian streak by introducing a mandatory testing law. Instead, citizens and their close contacts should be compensated for as long as they are compulsorily isolated after one of them tests positive. For the self-employed, this would remove a deterrent to seeing a doctor when sick, and thereby also reduce the spread of other diseases. (16-Nov-2020)
Webb on "Backchat" re HK Government finances & COVID
RTHK, 18-Aug-2020
Leslie Grant Horsfield & family v CE of HKSAR
HK Court of First Instance, 22-May-2020
The applicants, HK Permanent Residents arriving from South Africa, unsuccessfully seek release from inbound quarantine.
Syed Agha Raza Shah v Director of Health
HK Court of First Instance, 13-May-2020
The applicant, a HK Permanent Resident returning from Pakistan, fails to obtain release from government quarantine to serve home quarantine instead, an option afforded to arrivals from certain other countries with high rates of COVID-19 infection.
Government misled LegCo over COVID-19 broker handout
Applying to the Finance Committee, the Government made claims which it knew or should have known were false and misleading. It was either lying or reckless. Webb-site tells you the truth. (1-May-2020)
Webb on "Backchat" re COVID-19, border quarantine, QUIET Area and social controls
RTHK, 29-Apr-2020
Non-dispersable gatherings
We hereby "sternly clarify" that the Police and Secretary for Justice are wrong to claim that groups of 4 standing more than 1.5 metres apart constitute a single gathering if they have a common purpose. The Group Gathering Regulation allows for multiple, non-dispersable gatherings and contain no reference to the purpose of participants. We also show how to optimise use of available space. (28-Apr-2020) image
COVID-19: where do we go from here?
HK is essentially clean: data indicate the latest community transmission was 24 days ago. A potential travel network of clean quarantined countries is emerging, but many others are pursuing a mitigation approach, flattening the curve but leading to the likely premature death of 0.5% of their populations unless interrupted by a vaccine or treatment. We find lessons to be learned from HK's early mistakes. HK should maintain its quarantine and its people should now be free to enjoy their city. (27-Apr-2020)
Singapore says it was correct not to close schools earlier
Bloomberg, 7-Apr-2020
HK Government has no power to suspend school classes
As class suspensions drag into a third month, we look at who exactly is responsible. Surprise: it's not the Government, which can only advise, and it's now time for schools and their governing bodies to take the lead and learn from the parallel case of Singapore, where schools have remained open without causing an outbreak. We also call on HK to ban non-resident arrivals, and look at what other countries must do, or suffer, to get COVID-19 under control. (22-Mar-2020)
Carrie Lam risks international travel ban on HK residents
Once again Mrs Lam is putting "One Country" ahead of "Two Systems". By keeping a porous border while imposing an unprecedented lockdown within HK, we risk an escalation of confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV and a consequent inclusion in the entry bans now imposed by Singapore and USA which other countries are likely to follow. Mrs Lam, stand up for Hong Kong. (1-Feb-2020)
HKSAR Government responds to article in The Lancet
HK Government, 28-Nov-2019
International humanitarian norms are violated in HK
Lancet, 21-Nov-2019
Chinese-medicine hospital plan moves forwardGovt PR
RTHK, 13-Sep-2019
If there were 30 seats on the HK Chief Executive Election Committee for astrologers or feng shui masters then they too would get their own Government building. It is downright dangerous to deflect calls for better public hospitals by promoting pseudo-science. Govt says qualified NGOs must have at least 10 years' experience providing and managing Chinese-medicine services - but no requirement to prove that it actually works.
Webb on "Backchat" re Policy Address
RTHK, 11-Oct-2018
Hong Kong's not-so-free economy
The US-based Heritage Foundation has, as always, ranked HK as the freest economy in the World. For once, the Government doesn't accuse foreign forces of interfering in HK's internal affairs. But this rosy view is not held by those who take the time to study the domestic economy. Here are a few things that Heritage may have overlooked. (4-Feb-2018)
Submission to Public Engagement Exercise on Retirement Protection
We call for abolition of non-means-tested schemes, staggered subsidies for public healthcare and a deployment of the savings on a higher socal safety net and better healthcare. HK can't pursue a universal handout without breaching the Basic Law, and even if it could, the Laffer Curve may make it unsustainable as taxable profits and earnings would shift away. Finally, the MPF is a costly interventionist failure that should be scrapped, and if it is not, then LSP must be phased out to allow full portability of MPF assets. (21-Jun-2016)
Last batch of defendants sentenced for sick leave fraud
ICAC, 25-Aug-2015
Mr Cheung Siu Fai wins the frequent-liar prize for obtaining the largest number of false sick leave certificates from the Chinese Medicine Practitioner Chan Tung, with 193 of them.
The alternative Budget Speech, 2013: Prosperity through Reform
Webb-site reveals the Hong Kong Budget Speech which should be delivered next Wednesday. (22-Feb-2013)
Hospital fee revisions for non-eligible persons
HK Government, 26-Nov-2012
The SCMP article on 15-Dec "Hospital fee rise for non-permanent HKers" is wrong - Eligible Persons includes all residents with ID cards, including non-permanent residents.
Webb on "Backchat" re healthcare financing
RTHK, 18-Feb-2010
Healthcare reform in HK
We respond to the HK Government's healthcare reform proposals, focussing on financial aspects. We take you through the issues and our recommended solution, a restructuring of the subsidy to incentivise self-reliance but to cap everyone's annual fees, leaving the Government to cover individual catastrophe risk. With our structural budget surplus and trillion-dollar reserves, there is no need for mandatory insurance or more forced savings, which are just a favour to the banking and insurance sectors, as the MPF scheme was. (13-Jun-2008)

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