As I have explained before, the word “lockdown” means to restrict the movement of people for safety reasons, such as to prevent the spread of a disease. The expression “chain of transmission” means something being spread from one person to another. To “break the chain of transmission” means to stop the transmission. If something is being “mooted”, it means it is being suggested for discussion. The word “epicenter” used this way means the central point of something, or a place that has the highest level of an activity. Wuhan was China’s epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. New York was the epicenter in the US. To be “cooped up” means to be kept in a very small place for a long time.
When the pandemic first started in Wuhan, Hong Kong people reacted quickly by wearing facemasks and pressuring the government to close the mainland border. The government closed bars, nightclubs, karaoke lounges, and imposed social distancing rules in restaurants when the virus reached Hong Kong. But when the chain of transmission was broken, the government lifted the rules. People let their hair down, which means they relaxed, by going to bars and restaurants. There are now even stricter rules to stop the new outbreak. A lockdown can become a moot point if people follow the rules to stop the outbreak. The expression “moot point” used this way means something that is no longer worth discussing. A lockdown is a moot point, or no longer worth discussing, if we can control the outbreak.
香港避免了全城封鎖（lockdown）去切斷（break）新冠肺炎的傳播鏈（the chain of transmission）。然而，現在一些傳播病專家提出討論（mooted）要封城禁足（lockdown），以在香港變成一個新的新冠肺炎集中地（epicenter）之前，防止新一輪的爆發。全面封城禁足（lockdown）有一些好處，因為香港是個人口密集的城市，要切斷流行病的傳播鏈（break the chain of transmission）實在很困難。然而，封城禁足（lockdown）也會是一個噩夢，因為大部份的香港家庭都住在狹小的單位內。給關（cooped up）在這麼狹獈的居所內，即使只是一周，也會令好些人發瘋了。
正如我之前解釋過，“lockdown”是指為了安全理由，例如阻止疾病的傳播，而限制人們的活動。習語“chain of transmission”就是人與人之間的傳播鏈。To “break the chain of transmission”就是去阻截這個傳播鏈。若某事is being “mooted”，意即它被提出來討論。 Epicenter在這裏是指某事的中心，又或某種活動最活躍的集中地。武漢就是中國新冠肺炎大流行的中心（epicenter）；紐約則是美國疫情爆發的中心（epicenter）。To be “cooped up”意即長時間被禁錮、關押在非常狹小的空間內。
當這全球大流行疫症首先在武漢爆發，香港人反應迅速，立即戴上口罩，以及向政府施壓要關閉與內地連接的邊境。當病毒傳入香港時，政府關閉了酒吧、夜總會、卡拉OK酒廊，又在食肆實施社交距離措施。然而，當傳播鏈被切斷（chain of transmission was broken）時，政府停止了那些規例。人們 let their hair down，意即他們不再那麼拘謹了，開始去光顧酒吧和食肆。現在，為了阻止新一輪的爆發，規例變得更嚴謹。若人們能遵守規則，阻止疫情爆發，那封城禁足（lockdown）便可以變成一個 moot point。習語“moot point”在這裏是指某事不用再爭辯下去、已無討論價值了。若我們能控制好疫情的爆發，那麼我們也不用再討論（moot point）禁足（lockdown）與否了。中譯：七刻mickchug@gmail.com
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧