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Hong Kong faces a “tight balance” in easing border rules, officials say

Hong Kong is aiming to lift border restrictions on international travelers starting next month, government officials say, so a tight balance needs to be achieved.

China’s territory will relax bans on flights from nine countries, including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, allowing these travelers to quarantine at hotels for seven days instead of 14 days. The changes will take effect on April 1st.

“Meeting the needs of international businessmen is very important, but Hong Kong also has a very large population and needs to relax border restrictions to mainland China. This is also a very important part. That’s why. In Hong Kong for family reunion and business, “Bernard Chan, convenor of the Executive Council, told CNBC’s” Squawk Box Asia “on Monday.

“So it’s a very difficult balancing act,” he said, especially as China continues to look at the pockets of the outbreak of Covid.

The Executive Council of Hong Kong is a cabinet-like organization that advises the Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong.

China has been fighting the worst Covid outbreaks since early 2020. Local governments have accused the current wave of sweeping the country as a new variant of Omicron BA.2. Shanghai, the largest city, launched a two-stage blockade on Monday.

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Hong Kong, like mainland China, sticks to a “dynamic zero” coronavirus policy and seeks to eradicate all outbreaks with strict restrictions and quarantine.

According to official data, the city reported 7,685 new Covid infections on Monday, killing 168 people as the latest wave of Omicron infections continues to decline.

According to government data, an average of 4,217.4 cases per day was reported between March 22 and 28, down from an average of 8,704.4 cases per day reported in the previous 7 days.

Still, Hong Kong lags behind its local peers, especially its rival financial hub, Singapore. Singapore announced last Thursday that it would lift border restrictions on almost all vaccinated travelers starting next month.

“The world is open, so we need to find a solution. From April 1st, we will start reducing hotel quarantine times from 14th to 7th. Obviously not. Enough. Good, but still a big improvement. “

Covid affects the status of business hubs

According to a recent report from the European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, the city’s Zero-COVID strategy “is very expensive for the Hong Kong business community.”

According to the survey, 49% of the companies surveyed say they are considering relocating all or part of their offices within the next 12 months.

In addition, the report added that existing regulations are hampering the corporate strategies and hiring plans of two of the three Hong Kong companies.

Mr. Chan acknowledged that “these are times of trial” for Hong Kong and said he was confident that Hong Kong would regain its position as a global business hub once the pandemic is over.

“I believe Covid is over. It’s a matter of when it’s over. Hong Kong is still the center of China’s Great Bay and it’s very attractive because China’s economy continues to grow. People think so. Back.”


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