英文

Study Abroad:Going home

【明報專訊】When I left home in January to go back to the US, I hoped that I wouldn't have to spend another fourteen days in expensive hotel quarantine. Five months on, the world is generally in a better place; in much of the rich world, a sizable portion of the population has been vaccinated. For example, more than one in two Americans has received at least one dose of the vaccine, and people are once again revelling in pleasures that would have been unthinkable during the pandemic. NBA stadiums bursting with the deafening cheers and jeers of fans; students back in classrooms; audiences back in cinemas chomping on popcorn; restaurants, once on the cusp of shutdown, are once again brimming with life. A headline in a French newspaper shouts ''On revit!'' (''We live again!''). While we should not disregard the huge disparities in access to vaccines between countries, as well as the inevitable threat of new variants, there is room for optimism.

So I was quite frustrated when I realised that, after being fully vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine which has a 90% efficacy, I still have to quarantine for two whole weeks when I come back to Hong Kong, same as before. This time there is the additional problem of hotel room shortage as there are now only a handful of hotels I can quarantine in. It was almost impossible to find a room and the ones left were unreasonably expensive. I am not trying to downplay the amount of suffering and grief COVID has put Hong Kong through, or the importance of stopping its transmission at the border, but with more than 1.5 million Hongkongers at least partially vaccinated, perhaps we could reduce the quarantine period by a few days for fully vaccinated individuals? Bear in mind that to even get on the flight, passengers have to have tested negative for COVID and that for most people the incubation period is only about four to five days. Maybe I am just being selfish, but I haven't seen my sister in two years and just want things to start getting back to normal, if circumstances allow.

■Writer's Profile

Alice is a freshman at Cornell University intending to major in Economics and Computer Science, having previously studied in the UK for six years. A lover of languages, she studies French, Italian, Japanese and picks up bits of other languages when she can.

(Email: sze.ayw@gmail.com)

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