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As the world struggles with the rapid spread of COVID-19, Hong Kong appears to be having success controlling it — in part because the memory of a similar virus in 2003 prompted a public outcry early on.

Hong Kong’s government quickly implemented restrictive “social distancing” measures now being hotly debated around the world, in part because of pressure from medical workers to close its border with China at the beginning of the outbreak. Those included closing schools, canceling large-scale events, shutting government offices and ordering civil servants to work from home — a move that many companies quickly followed.

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