Senior Bankers Can Now Skip Hong Kong’s Three-Week Quarantine

Senior global bankers can now travel to and from Hong Kong a little easier after the government offered an exemption to the city’s strict quarantine rules.

Executives at financial companies licensed by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission can apply to travel in and out of the city without needing to stay in a hotel for 21 days, the current norm for people arriving there, the regulator said on Friday. The rule change also applies to executives at overseas affiliate firms.

While Hong Kong has one of the world’s strictest Covid-19 quarantines, which has helped keep the spread of the pandemic under control, the city has struggled to encourage people to have a vaccination. Earlier this week Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she was against offering cash or in-kind incentives to people who had a jab.

Friday’s exemption notice provided little detail on how to define a “senior executive.” Workers must be traveling for business purposes and companies need to apply in advance with an itinerary and proof of vaccination, the statement said. Each firm is limited to two returning and two visiting executives each month.

Despite being one of a few places in the world to make vaccines available to all adults, just 12.6% of Hong Kong’s population of 7.5 million has been fully inoculated, according to Bloomberg’s Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker -- far behind other finance centers including London, at 27.2%, and Singapore, at 28.3%.

Some private sector firms have resorted to gimmicks to encourage take-up. Sino Group’s philanthropic arm Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation and Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd. are offering a brand-new apartment in their Grand Central project in the Kwun Tong area as a prize for residents who have been vaccinated, the companies said Friday.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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