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Asia CommentTaipan

The only time a root canal may be worth the pain

After nearly a year without any travel, many of us have become desperate to leave the gilded cage of Hong Kong. I, for one, would give anything to be able to laze on the beaches of Thailand with a Piña Colada in my hand — if I could only avoid the three-week quarantine on my return to Hong Kong.

Naturally, I do admire the latest tactics being deployed by some people in Ireland, where the government has banned all non-essential foreign travel. But some of its crafty residents have found a loophole – by faking a dentist appointment in the Canary Islands, just a four-hour flight away.

Apparently, dentists in Spain’s Canary Islands have seen a surge in bookings for everything from tooth aches to whitening procedures in recent weeks.

But the patients have all been no-shows, despite their unusual requests that the dental offices email a document confirming their appointment and planned procedure. At the same time, beaches in Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, seem to be filled with seemingly healthy young Irish citizens enjoying the sun.

This has raised some serious questions. Have dentists in Ireland set their citizens’ teeth on edge one too many times? Is there a gaping hole in the Irish dental market that can only be filled by visiting a dentist on the sunny beaches of Tenerife? Have the Irish police, who are allowed to fine people €500 for flouting the non-essential travel ban, lost some of their teeth?

It's probably best that Hong Kong doesn't offer such loopholes for its travel or quarantine restrictions.

I can only imagine the number of Thai dental appointments that would be booked in the coming weeks. Or worse, employers could schedule company-sponsored ‘surgery’ in the region's financial centres.

Then again, I may be willing to have a root canal just to recover in Phuket.

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