These charts show how Hong Kong is faring as it clings to its zero-Covid strategy

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On February 16, 2022, sufferers lie in hospital beds ready for medical therapy in a short lived holding space exterior Caritas Medical Heart in Hong Kong.

Leung Man Hei | Nurphoto | Getty Photos

Lam has insisted, nonetheless, that there are no plans for a “widespread city lockdown.

“So far as Hong Kong is worried, we have to discover our personal means out of this epidemic, and thus far, our measures to include the unfold of a illness stay a legit and legitimate one,” she mentioned.

This month, Lam mentioned the town would follow what it calls a “dynamic zero” strategy, not less than till the vaccination price hits 90%. The Hong Kong authorities describes its “dynamic zero” technique as having a target of having “zero infections” — a method it has repeatedly mentioned is the simplest means of combating the pandemic. It entails measures such as mass community testing, sewage surveillance, contact tracing, and border controls to maintain out imported instances.

Aged vaccination charges

Lam has mentioned the city needs to “do better” in inoculating the elderly as a way to hit the general 90% vaccination price goal.

“Till all these issues occur, we’ll proceed to stick to the present technique of attempting to include the unfold of the virus, or what we name sustaining this ‘dynamic zero’ regime,” she mentioned.

Hong Kong just lately launched vaccine passes which might encourage extra folks to get vaccinated. The passes will likely be required for entry to most public areas starting Feb. 24.

Companies deal with Covid restrictions

Hong Kong, alongside mainland China, is without doubt one of the final locations nonetheless taking a zero-Covid method. Town has maintained tight restrictions as it really works towards establishing quarantine-free travel with China.

However the measures have hindered operations and snarled journey plans, in response to a recent business sentiment survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

In its annual report, HSBC mentioned on Tuesday that “The evolving Covid-19 restrictions in Hong Kong, together with journey, public gathering and social distancing restrictions, are impacting the Hong Kong financial system, and will have an effect on the power to draw and retain workers.”

Knowledge from the town’s immigration division exhibits the variety of work visas issued has dropped during the last two years. Simply 13,800 international professionals had been issued work visas underneath the Basic Employment Coverage scheme final yr — a decline of about 66% from greater than 41,000 in 2019, earlier than the pandemic.

That decline, nonetheless, is probably going solely partly on account of Covid restrictions, mentioned Lloyd Chan, senior economist at analysis agency Oxford Economics.

“Along with the journey curbs and US-China tensions, we expect that issues over the nationwide safety legislation and adjustments to Hong Kong’s political system (such because the overhaul of the town’s electoral system) have weakened Hong Kong’s enchantment to international firms and buyers as a world hub,” he wrote in a Feb. 9 report.

“Corporations look like having problem recruiting abroad expertise, as urged by anecdotal proof,” he mentioned.

InvestHK, Hong Kong’s authorities company for international direct funding, responded that Hong Kong stays “a serious regional base” for companies regardless of pandemic-related challenges.

“Hong Kong continues to supply abroad companies unparalleled entry to Mainland China markets, which is our largest aggressive benefit,” InvestHK mentioned in a written response to CNBC.

Hong Kong’s banking sector is “as strong as ever” for the reason that implementation of the Nationwide Safety Legislation, the company mentioned. Whole deposits in Hong Kong on the finish of June 2021 had been up nearly 8% year-over-year to greater than $15 trillion Hong Kong {dollars} ($1.92 trillion), the company mentioned.

A spokesman from Hong Kong’s data companies division informed CNBC that the national security law has “reverted the chaotic state of affairs … restored stability and elevated the boldness in Hong Kong, thereby permitting the town to … return to the trail of improvement.”

The changes to the electoral system, in the meantime, ensured that members of the legislative council acted “within the pursuits of the nation’s improvement and the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong,” it mentioned.

Air passenger site visitors plummets

This week, authorities extended a ban on incoming flights from 9 nations, together with america, United Kingdom, India and Australia till April 20. The government has said the tighter border would “stop imported COVID-19 instances from inserting further strain on the town’s healthcare system at this significant juncture of curbing the native epidemic state of affairs.”

As a way to reopen borders with China, Hong Kong has to align with Beijing’s zero-Covid method, Chan mentioned.

“Thus, stringent worldwide border restrictions will likely be maintained, hindering worldwide connectivity and miserable inbound tourism. Consequently, we anticipate Hong Kong’s zero-Covid coverage will hinder the financial restoration and weigh on its attractiveness as a world monetary hub,” he wrote in a Feb. 9 report.

Hong Kong’s cumulative caseload stays low in contrast with different international cities, at just over 75,000 cases as of Feb. 22, in response to authorities knowledge. For a lot of the pandemic, day by day new instances within the Chinese language metropolis had been usually within the single digits, if any.

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