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The Pulse:Interview with John Burns on Covid-19 and governance & DSE Examination this year

It’s been more than a year since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and despite some signs of optimism, the general situation remains volatile and unpredictable.

Hong Kong’s average number of daily new cases has dropped to single digits, and restrictions have been relaxed. But then after the long holiday early this month, there was an increase in both local and imported cases. Last week, the government introduced a “vaccine bubble” for those who’ve been inoculated in the hope of boosting slow vaccination take up rates and with the hope of reviving a sluggish economy. It also expanded the vaccination programme to people aged 16 to 29.

But it’s hard to predict what will happen as was seen last Saturday when Hong Kong saw its first imported case of the more infectious N501Y mutation, also known as the South African variant. So far, three major coronavirus variants have been found in the city. To talk about Hong Kong’s responses to Covid19 from a governance and economic perspective is John Burns, Emeritus Professor & Honorary Professor, Dept. of Politics and Public Administration of the University of Hong Kong.

Covid-19 has had a considerable impact on the education sector. Face-to-face classes in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, and universities and colleges have been suspended several times. Most have adopted online teaching since last year. Even though face-to-face classes gradually resumed in February, it is a far cry from a general return to in person teaching. This has made life difficult, both physically and psychologically, for many students taking this month’s Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education exams.
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