In chasing zero Covid-19 infections, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and others have become trapped by their own success

Cyclists pass the Singapore Flyer Ferris Wheel attraction. Photo: AP Cyclists pass the Singapore Flyer Ferris Wheel attraction. Photo: AP

In places that have been successful in suppressing Covid-19, such as mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, there seems to be a reluctance to accept that the disease will become endemic.

The coronavirus variants that are emerging are more transmissible, so to achieve zero or close to zero infections in these places, health authorities say virus control measures must be more stringent than before.

This is neither wise nor tenable for much longer.

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With highly effective vaccines available, health authorities in these places should be focused on rolling out mass vaccination quickly so as to achieve a degree of herd immunity. This would allow them to return to normality even if the virus continues to circulate at low levels, without overwhelming the health-care system.

The irony is that due to their successful suppression of Covid-19, these places are now finding it hard to roll out vaccinations quickly. With the threat of Covid-19 having mostly receded, their populations see less incentive to get jabbed.

There are a variety of reasons why these governments also often find it hard to accept that the virus will , eventually, circulate in their populations.

In chasing zero Covid-19 infections, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and others have become trapped by their own success