Hong Kong's public hospitals as well as the Food and Health Bureau are caught flat-footed every flu season. Now, the measles outbreak has again caught the government flat-footed. If you are caught flat-footed, it means you are taken by surprise, or caught unprepared, by something that happens. The expression "flu season" means the time of year when flu affects a lot of people. Hong Kong's flu seasons are from around January to March and July to August. Even though the government knows Hong Kong has two flu seasons every year, public hospitals are always unprepared, or caught flat-footed.
Public hospitals were so overcrowded in the most recent flu season that patients had to wait four or five hours to see a doctor. The shortage of hospital beds was so serious that many patients had to sleep on makeshift beds in hospital corridors. The word "makeshift" means something temporary and of low quality because of a sudden need for it. Overworked hospital nurses became so angry with the shortage of beds, nurses, and doctors that they protested outside government headquarters. The current measles outbreak is far less serious because it has only affected a small number of people but it still caught the government flat-footed.
Many of those affected by the measles outbreak work at the airport. The government's arrangement to vaccinate airport workers was so inefficient that people had to wait several hours for an injection. Measles vaccinations are in such short supply that private clinics do not have any. The government has restricted its supply to only babies, hospital staff, and airport workers. Other people who are not immune to measles cannot even get vaccinated. The word "immune" used this way means your body can protect itself against certain diseases. Some private doctors who have a small supply of vaccinations are charging up to $1,800 for an injection even though the normal fee is a few hundred dollars. They should be ashamed. The government has now started blood tests to check if airport workers are immune before giving them measles injections. The government should have done this from the start instead of wasting vaccinations.
每到流感季節（flu season），香港的公立醫院和食物及衞生局都被殺個措手不及（caught flat-footed）。現在，麻疹爆發又再次令政府猝不及防（flat-footed）。若你被 caught flat-footed，即是說一些事情的發生令你驚惶失惜或毫無防備。習語flu season就是每年的流感季節。香港的流感季節（flu seasons）約在每年一至三月以及七至八月。雖然政府知道香港每年都有兩個流感季節（flu seasons），但公立醫院卻總是毫無防備的，或說總是caught flat-footed。
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧