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Ting Chan has seen Hong Kong’s pandemic situation lurch from over-the-top caution to outright chaos.

A nurse at one of the city’s public hospitals, she’s been a ground-level participant in the strict "COVID zero" strategy that has kept the financial hub largely free of the virus for the past two years. Key to that has been Hong Kong’s mandatory hospitalization of all COVID-19 cases, regardless of whether they’re mildly ill or even asymptomatic. While that’s helped keep the total death toll at a little over 200 for the entire pandemic, those elaborate defenses have collapsed in the face of the highly-transmissible omicron variant.

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