Hong Kong Leader’s Approval Rating Plunges to New Low Amid Virus

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(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam’s approval rating has sunk to a new low of just 9.1% as her government faces criticism over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

Few of the 1,008 Hong Kong residents surveyed by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Program between Feb. 17 and 19 expressed confidence in the city’s Chief Executive. That figure was down 4.2 percentage points from a survey early in the month, the biggest plunge between polls since historic anti-government protests erupted in the city last June.

Hong Kong Leader’s Approval Rating Plunges to New Low Amid Virus

Other key readings from the new survey -- including confidence in the “one country, two systems” principle by which the Asian financial hub is governed by China, satisfaction with the government and current livelihood conditions -- also registered record lows.

Lam’s government has come under fire from some groups for not doing enough to ward off a public health crisis as the number of confirmed virus cases continues to climb, rising to 84 on Tuesday. The virus first emerged in central China in December, piling pressure on Lam after months of often-violent demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Facing the double whammy of protests and virus outbreak, economists expect Hong Kong to see its first ever back-to-back annual decline. Financial Secretary Paul Chan is expected to detail his forecasts for the economy in his annual budget speech Wednesday.

Seventy percent of the 1,120 Hong Kong residents surveyed last week were dissatisfied with the government’s efforts to stem the health crisis, including failing to remedy a shortage of surgical masks that left people queuing around the city, choosing quarantine sites close to residential areas and not quickly and fully sealing off the mainland border.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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