Hong Kong Defends Letting JPMorgan’s Dimon Skip Quarantine
(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong let JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon skip the city’s 21-day hotel quarantine because of the size of the bank’s operations in the Asian financial hub, saying his trip was relatively low risk.
“The justification is related to economy, as this is a very huge bank with key business in Hong Kong,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam said in a regular briefing on Tuesday. “He needs to come to Hong Kong for work for about a day.”
Lam added that Dimon had limits placed on his itinerary, “and his entire trip was restricted. The risk is totally manageable.”
The city’s government granted Dimon an individual exemption from quarantine rules, Lam said. That’s despite recent efforts to do away with any exemptions in order to convince Chinese officials that the former British colony was tightening its virus control measures before any border opening with the mainland.
In August, the government granted an exemption to actor Nicole Kidman who had flown into the city to film a TV series, prompting a brief outcry from frustrated residents who have been forced to pay out for expensive hotel stays. HSBC Holdings Plc Chairman Mark Tucker passed through a three-week quarantine the same month.
Hong Kong, which is pursuing a “Covid Zero” strategy alongside China, has imposed some of the world’s strictest travel rules to keep the virus out. Measures include mandatory hotel quarantines of three weeks for any resident returning to the city from the U.K. or U.S., regardless of vaccination status, while most non-resident visitors and tourists are banned.
On Monday, Dimon said Hong Kong’s travel restrictions “make it harder” for the bank to retain talent in the global financial hub. In May, the local American Chamber of Commerce released a survey saying more than 40% of its members were considering whether to leave the city, with Singapore among the most popular destinations.
Hong Kong, a city of 7.4 million, has been relatively successful keeping the virus at bay, with no locally transmitted cases for months and just over 200 deaths since the pandemic began.
Still, a single Covid-positive individual in the community is considered cause for serious alarm among authorities.
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