Mission impossible for disabled Hong Kongers hunting face masks

first_imgHong Kong’s disabled residents and their carers say they feel increasingly trapped in their apartments and abandoned by authorities as the coronavirus-struck city is engulfed with panic-buying and face mask shortages.For the last fortnight, queues have sprung up across the densely-packed business hub as Hong Kongers jostle for the latest delivery of face masks, toilet rolls and cleaning products.It is a free-for-all that Steven Yan dreads. Public hospitals have stopped supplying masks to visiting patients to save vital equipment for staff in a city where more than 60 people have been diagnosed with the coronavrius. “I have to wear a mask in hospital but we can’t afford that now,” Yan said, lamenting that prices for face masks have soared in recent weeks as the government has resisted implementing price controls or rationing.Entrenched inequalityDespite being one of the richest cities in the world, Hong Kong has a profound wealth gap and a limited safety net for society’s most vulnerable.Of the some 600,000 disabled people in the city, a third live below the poverty line according to government data. Some 200,000 people also act as carers.Lam Chun, 64, looks after her 19-year-old nephew full time. He has Pradar-Willis syndrome — a genetic disorder that makes the person feel constantly hungry and often leads to diabetes and obesity.When she goes out to get groceries, she relies on a makeshift cloth mask to cover her face, even though it offers limited protection.”I always miss the information about masks because I don’t really know how to get online,” Lam said, noting how many Hong Kongers find out about restocked pharmacies through Facebook or family Whatsapp groups.Both Yan and Lam said they had received little help from local authorities in securing masks.”It turned out that the government did not do anything to protect people like us and I am deeply disappointed,” Lam said.The Social Welfare Department did not respond to requests for comment on what measures it was taking to ensure disabled and other vulnerable residents received masks. Responsibility has largely fallen to volunteers and the charity sector. Frayed nerves Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam recently said 1.6 million masks would be given to local charities to hand out to vulnerable people.And Joshua Wong, a pro-democracy activist who was previously jailed for leading protests, said his party had secured 1.2 million masks from Honduras and would distribute them through their network of local councilors. There have been growing calls in some sectors for the government to implement price caps or to ration face masks in a bid to curb shortages and spiraling prices.After a brief bout of panic buying in nearby Taiwan, authorities introduced new rules limiting each person to buying just two masks a week through a system connected to their national healthcard.But in Hong Kong, which revels in its freemarket status, authorities have so far resisted market intervention.Yan said he felt constantly anxious in recent weeks.”People like me are more vulnerable in face of diseases,” he said. “Maybe you are hearing my voice today and seeing my corpse tomorrow.”   Diagnosed with muscular atrophy 14 years ago, Yan uses a wheelchair to get around. He has tried to find face masks near his apartment but has only succeeded once in the last month, queuing for six hours to get his hands on five free masks.”It exhausted me,” Yan told AFP. “I dared not move, fearing that I might lose my spot.”With just 40 masks at home to share among him, his wife and teenage son, Yan has started cutting back on going out in public, including to his regular medical check-ups.center_img Topics :last_img read more

FB : OPPORTUNITY LOST: Syracuse fails to capitalize on forced turnovers in loss to Connecticut

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: [email protected] | @mark_cooperjr EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Ryan Nassib walked off the field in disdain, pulling his helmet off and taking a familiar seat on the left end of the bench on the Syracuse sideline.Three plays earlier, the SU quarterback and his offense ran onto the field with enthusiasm in the first quarter following an Orange fumble recovery to stop a Connecticut drive in the red zone.But Nassib’s drop back and quick fire on a slant for tight end Nick Provo happened too fast. The SU quarterback’s bullet pass sailed over Provo’s head and into the welcoming arms of UConn safety Jerome Junior. The third straight empty possession for SU nullified the forced turnover from moments earlier, a trend that came back to bite the Orange by the end of the game.‘I think it’s just when you think about, the defense got a turnover, we need to score now,’ SU wide receiver Alec Lemon said, ‘instead of just focusing on that first play and then the second play. And then that first first down and turning that into a good drive.’UConn’s five turnovers in the first half led to zero points for Syracuse. The Orange defense made big plays time and time again in the first half, intercepting quarterback Johnny McEntee twice and forcing three different players to lose fumbles. But each time the SU (5-4, 1-3 Big East) defense came running off the field with the ball, the offense didn’t make the Huskies (4-5, 2-2 Big East) pay. And when UConn’s offense got rolling in the second half, Syracuse’s inability to score points off turnovers cost it the game in a 28-21 loss to the Huskies in front of 38,769 at Rentschler Field on Saturday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange offense also turned the ball over three times en route to a missed chance at becoming bowl eligible.‘You’ve got to make plays, we weren’t able to make plays,’ Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone said. ‘We wound up turning the ball over, too.’Syracuse showed its inability to move or take care of the ball in the first half on its very first drive. Already down 7-0 after a quick Huskies’ score, Nassib and running back Antwon Bailey botched a handoff on the Orange’s second offensive play.The ball came bouncing off of Bailey in the backfield toward the line of scrimmage, where UConn linebacker Jory Johnson recovered.‘It was … the handoff was … it just didn’t happen,’ said Bailey, who was limited to 50 yards on 16 carries.Still, back against the wall, the Syracuse defense made a play. McEntee threw the first of his two interceptions to safety Phillip Thomas. Syracuse got the ball back, no damage.But there was little progress made by the SU offense.Early in the second quarter, after Chandler Jones forced Huskies running back Lyle McCombs to cough up a fumble, Nassib was wild again. His throw on third-and-5 sailed high of Lemon for an incompletion on a slant play similar to his previous interception.Nassib finished the first half just 7-of-17 — a 41 percent completion rate — with a touchdown and interception. He failed to exploit UConn’s 106th-ranked pass defense.‘He came out, the balls were sailing on him, he had a couple guys open and just missed them,’ SU offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said. ‘Part of playing the position, you got a lot of guys bearing down on you, get open and they just sailed on him.’In five first-half possessions after a turnover, Syracuse produced 62 yards on 21 plays. Those drives resulted in two three-and-outs, three total punts, an interception and a missed field goal.‘We had opportunities, and we weren’t able to take advantage of it in the first half,’ Marrone said.The Syracuse offense finally began to click in the second half. SU scored touchdowns on its first two possessions. Nassib completed 9-of-10 passes in the third quarter, including a touchdown pass.But the Connecticut offense also began piecing drives together to match SU punch-for-punch. And in what proved to be the most pivotal exchange of the game, UConn turned an interception into the eventual game-winning score.With the pressure mounting in a game tied at 21 in the fourth quarter, Nassib made a long throw to the right sideline intended for Lemon on a deep comeback route.Hackett said Nassib underthrew it a little. Lemon said he should have come back to the ball more. Or maybe Connecticut linebacker Sio Moore just made a phenomenal play when he jumped the route, picked off the pass and gave his offense possession — and eventually seven points.It was exactly what Syracuse couldn’t do all game long.‘Any time the defense does a great job like that, you got to capitalize on the turnovers,’ Hackett said. ‘We didn’t today. We didn’t capitalize at all.’[email protected]center_img Commentslast_img read more