Hong Kong’s Great Flu Kerfuffle
Primary school kids in Hong Kong must have been delighted today. A few have taken sick with influenza in recent times, so things have been a little glum. But the government can always pitch in and help. Late last night it did just that, announcing that the lower schools would close two days early for an extended Easter break. And this at a time when no more students than usual are suffering from seasonal maladies. Manna from Heaven!
So what gives?
Executive decisions made in dark of night are usually the bailiwick of third world dictators, but no self-respecting tyrant would bother to direct schools closed after a short run of outs with the flu. Even the somewhat ambivalent South China Morning Post editorial this morning mentioned that the reporting of flu-like symptoms has been a little down on average this year. The World Health Organisation backed that up, calling it “just regular seasonal flu”.
But the Standard, true to its sensationalist form, preferred to quote statistics on overflowing paediatric wards. And wavering towards the back of its print edition, the SCMP pointed out that around a thousand people die from the flu in Hong Kong every year.