Hong Kong leaders ‘probe’ to relax controversial COVID curbs | Business and Economics

City leaders said Hong Kong is “actively exploring” changes to strict COVID-19 regulations that have ravaged the economy and lured talent away from the financial hub.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee on Tuesday said his government intends to make an announcement soon about the city’s controversial hotel quarantine policy amid growing frustration over its deteriorating image. of the Chinese territory as a place to live and do business.

Lee, who has pledged to restore Hong Kong’s ailing international status since taking office in July, said his government is aware of the need to ensure “well connected” with the rest. of the world.

“We know exactly where we should be heading and want to be consistent as we move in that direction. We want an orderly opening,” Lee told reporters, warning in advance of any move that could lead to “chaos or confusion”.

Lee’s comments come days after the organizers of the World Dragon Boat Championships and the Hong Kong Marathon, two of the biggest events on the sports calendar, announced the events would be canceled one after another. abandoned and moved to Thailand due to the city’s pandemic regulations.

Hong Kong is one of the few places on earth that still adheres to strict pandemic control measures as authorities seek to match mainland China’s draconian “no COVID” policy aimed at eradicating virus at almost any cost.

According to current regulations, all arrivals must go through three days of hotel isolation followed by four days of medical supervisionduring that time they are prohibited from entering places such as bars and restaurants.

Guests arriving from last month are required to undergo a seven-day quarantine at the hotel and were previously restricted to 21 days in the hotel.

Local media earlier reported that the authorities were considering replacing the hotel quarantine entirely with seven days of medical supervision, which would still severely limit the movement of guests to the city.

The South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday that Lee and his Cabinet had reached a consensus on removing the hotel quarantine at a later date, citing anonymous sources.

Along with a Beijing-led crackdown on dissidents who have evaded rights and freedoms in the former British colony, COVID regulations – which also include Masks, the mainland Chinese-style health code system and restrictions on public gatherings – have caused a massive exodus of residents.

More than 200,000 people have left Hong Kong, which calls itself the “World City of Asia”, between 2020 and mid-2022, with more expected to come.

Hong Kong enters second recession in three years in the second quarter, with gross domestic product (GDP) falling 1.4% after falling 3.9% in the January-March period. On Monday, Finance Minister Paul Chan said the city’s financial situation was worse than expected, predicting a deficit of up to HK$100 billion ($12.7 billion) this year, a level second worst on record.

Gary Ng, a senior economist at Natixis in Hong Kong, said Hong Kong’s piecemeal approach to reopening would not be enough to restore the city’s plummeting competitiveness.

“Everything is relative. Switching from the so-called ‘3 + 4’ to ‘0 + 7’ scheme will help little because of the difference compared to countries in the same region, such as Singapore, still very broad,” Ng told Al Jazeera.

“It’s not just about border control but also domestic rules. Mandatory health checks and regulations are major factors causing instability, reducing Hong Kong’s attractiveness and quality of life. It is an urgent task for the Hong Kong government to get out of COVID for its economy immediately. “

Ng says the policies are also putting pressure on the city’s finances in the form of “unsustainable” COVID-related spending.

“Nobody benefits from the current policy,” he said.

Source link


News 7D: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button