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Hong Kong to let major bankers bypass strict quarantine rules

The city government has announced that two senior executives of banks or insurance companies who are fully vaccinated can apply for a quarantine exemption each month.

They would still be required to book rooms in quarantine hotels or stay in another approved location, but would be allowed to travel around the city for scheduled business meetings. Hong Kong has required most people traveling from overseas to wear a tracking bracelet and self-isolate in a hotel room for three weeks.

“The government and various financial services regulators believe Hong Kong should help financial institutions maintain normal operations amid the crisis. [pandemic], in order to ensure the stability of the financial system and to maintain Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center, ”the government said in a statement.

Visiting bankers must submit an itinerary and will still need to pass multiple Covid-19 tests during their stay. Senior executives of listed companies will also be eligible.

HSBC (HBCYF), who announced in April that she would move four of her senior executives to Hong Kong this year applauded the decision.

“While the pandemic has shown how much can be accomplished virtually, a measured approach to facilitating business travel to and from Hong Kong could help stimulate more economic activity in various sectors,” the report said. London-based bank in a statement.

But the Hong Kong American Chamber of Commerce questioned the fairness of the policy.

“While we appreciate the government taking steps to open up travel to senior bankers in the financial services industry, this move seems strangely unfair, as it doesn’t apply equally to other industries, many of which have significant investments in Hong Kong and the region, said President Tara Joseph.

Joseph noted that the the policy appears to exclude the aviation, technology and legal sectors, as well as the arts.

The lobby group encourages the Hong Kong government to view the program for financial executives as a pilot project that can then be scaled up to other sectors, and to more widely relax travel rules for fully vaccinated people.

– Michelle Toh and Eric Cheung contributed reporting.

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