Hong Kong’s zero COVID policy jeopardizes status as financial hub – industry group – .

Hong Kong’s zero COVID policy jeopardizes status as financial hub – industry group – .

A general view showing the Central Business District, in Hong Kong, China on September 15, 2021. REUTERS / Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG, Oct. 25 (Reuters) – A financial sector group warned on Monday that Hong Kong’s zero COVID policy and strict quarantine requirements for international travelers threatened to undermine the city’s status as a financial hub.

The Asian Association of Securities and Financial Markets (ASIFMA) said a survey of its members, including some of the world’s largest banks and asset managers, showed that 48% were considering relocate staff or functions away from Hong Kong due to operational challenges, including uncertainty over when and how travel and quarantine restrictions will be lifted.

Hong Kong has some of the toughest travel restrictions in the world and is virtually COVID-19 free, but unlike regional rival Singapore, which is slowly reopening its borders, the Chinese-ruled city has no public plan to move forward. open up internationally. travelers.

Local leaders say their goal is to remove restrictions on travel from Hong Kong to mainland China, which also has strict entry restrictions. At present, travelers from Hong Kong to the mainland must still be quarantined.

“Hong Kong’s status as an (international financial center) is increasingly under threat, along with its long-term economic recovery and competitiveness as the premier place to do business,” wrote Mark Austen, Managing Director. from Asifma, in an open letter to Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul. Chan.

The letter made a series of recommendations, including the publication of “a roadmap to exit Hong Kong’s COVID-19 strategy based on” zero cases “beyond the immediate sole objective of opening borders with China. », As well as the priority to vaccinations.

Hong Kong has reported just over 12,300 cases since the start of the pandemic, most of them imported, and 213 deaths.

Regional rival Singapore is expanding non-quarantine travel to nearly a dozen countries, but authorities are wondering how to do it while avoiding a surge of Covid-19 cases among the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Read more

Reporting by Alun John; Editing by Michael Perry

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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