After keeping the virus at bay for nearly two years, the Hong Kong government failed to contain the city’s worst Covid outbreak ever. As the rest of the world opened up, Hong Kong was one of the last places still trying to eradicate the virus. Rather than consider different approaches, the government – receiving direct orders from Beijing – doubled down on its “Covid Zero strategy”, building new isolation facilities at a breathtaking speed. Authorities have imposed one of the world’s toughest restrictions such as isolating every case found, imposing quarantine orders on close contacts, and lengthy quarantine stays for arrivals. But rising infections and government’s strict measures have overwhelmed morgues and hospitals. In March, Hong Kong recorded the world’s highest rate of covid deaths per million people. Restrictions and a deepening political crackdown have sucked much of the energy out of a city long advertised as “Asia’s world city”. The financial hub recorded its sharpest annual drop in population in 2022.

Award of Excellence

Covid Crackdown

Louise Delmotte
France/Hong Kong

Louise Delmotte (b. 1999) is a freelance photographer based in Hong Kong. Originally from France, she studied politics at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). She is a regular contributor to Getty Images and The New York Times.

[ ISSUE REPORTING PICTURE STORY ] A long-term project on a single topic. It could focus on science, news, politics or any number of topics, ranging from coverage of a single person to an entire community. The project must convey a deep understanding of the subject. Each submission consists of 10 to 40 images. Each participant is allowed to enter up to 3 submissions. All images must be taken in 2022.

Judges for Issue Reporting Picture Story
Jilson Tiu
Uma Bista
Takaaki Iwabu
Parisa Azadi
Nathan Tsui
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