SARS Taught Hong Kongers to Wear Masks

(p. A8) When Alex Lam types “SARS” into his iPhone, a face-mask emoji pops up, as it does for others in Hong Kong. It is a reminder of the infectious-disease crisis that disrupted life in his home city in the early 2000s.

“Everyone here remembers the hard times back in 2003” and doesn’t want to repeat them, said Mr. Lam, who contracted the earlier coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome.

When the new coronavirus emerged, he quickly began wearing masks in public, washing his hands and avoiding crowds.

. . .

Social-distancing measures were also in place in Hong Kong soon after China introduced the first coronavirus lockdowns in January [2002]. Authorities shut schools and ordered the city’s thousands of civil servants to work from home in late January.

. . .

Residents grew accustomed to wearing masks, which many global experts believe help prevent those infected from spreading the disease to others.

For the full story, see:

Natasha Khan, Timothy W. Martin. “Past Outbreaks Helped Asia Tackle Crisis.” The Wall Street Journal (Thursday, May 7, 2020): A8.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story was updated May 7, 2020 and has the title “Asia’s Lesson for Corralling Coronavirus? ‘Act Fast’.”)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *