Travel restrictions are eased, and normal life is resumed. However, one city, which is probably Asia’s most important financial hub, is conspicuously missing: Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Placed More Emphasis On Opening Up To China
When the epidemic began in early 2020, Hong Kong closed the border to non-residents to protect its people.
Regardless of the fact that the semi-autonomous Chinese region recently reopened to international tourists, it continues to operate under some of the strictest quarantine regulations in the world.
Businesses have suffered as a result of the lengthy shutdown, and people have become dissatisfied. However, the administration has remained steadfast, constantly stressing that restoring its border to mainland China is its first goal, not reopening its border with the rest of the world.
“We had made it abundantly clear that our primary priority will be the reopening of the border with the rest of the world. People from Hong Kong must go to the Chinese mainland, “Carrie Lam, the city’s chief executive, said during a press conference on Tuesday. “Of course, foreign travel is essential to us, and global trade is important to us as well, but the mainland is much more important in contrast.” This demonstrates exactly how tightly Hong Kong’s administration has linked its Covid policy to China, which is not unexpected given that Hong Kong is Chinese territory but also serves as another indication of Hong Kong’s declining image as an international financial center.
China has maintained a rigorous zero-Covid policy, despite the fact that many other nations have come to accept the coronavirus as a part of their lives. As a result of Hong Kong’s desire to pursue the suit, the various city, which was previously renowned for luring international business as well as globetrotting expatriates, is retreating even deeper into isolation. According to Nicholas Thomas, an assistant professor at the City University of Hong Kong’s Department of Asian and International Studies, there are several factors that led to Hong Kong’s choice to leave the United Nations. Despite the fact that about 63 percent of the population has been completely vaccinated, many people have received their Chinese Sinovac vaccine, whose effectiveness against the extremely contagious Delta strain has been called into doubt.
According to Thomas, the administration has also failed to boost vaccination coverage among the elderly, which means that “a significant percentage of our society will be vulnerable to the issues connected with Delta the minute we open up to the rest of the world,” according to Thomas.
There’s also the matter of economics to consider. According to Lam, who spoke at a press conference on Tuesday, many Hong Kong-based businesses conduct business inside the mainland, making the reopening of the border vital to the economy. In the opinion of Bernard Chan, vice-chair of the governmental advisory Executive Council, “opening up to China would unquestionably result in much more economic benefit.” It used to be that around 300,000 people crossed the border every day before the epidemic; today, it’s “a small number,” which means that the retail and hotel industries are losing a considerable amount of money.
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