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In Bid to Show It Is Open, Hong Kong Bends Covid Rules … for Some

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Hong Kong is eager to show the world that the city is open for business after years of pandemic restrictions. This week, government officials realized they were willing to bend some rules for visitors as long as they could afford it.

Bankers in town for an investment summit of global financial leaders were told they could skip the mandatory quarantine and board a private jet if they tested positive for Covid. Tech executives attending the week were allowed to dine in private rooms, despite a rule prohibiting visitors from eating out during the first three days in the city. Spectators at this weekend’s Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament will be able to dine in the stands after rules are relaxed.

These three glamorous events were the first in three years to feature international guests and were intended to show that Hong Kong still deserves to be called ‘Asia’s World City’. But the privilege bestowed upon a small group of people has come as they try to balance mounting demands from Beijing, which holds the final say on Hong Kong’s Covid policy, with an international community determined to weather the pandemic. It magnifies the challenges faced by the former British colonies.

“We have been and will continue to be one of the world’s leading financial centers, and we can bring that to the banks,” Hong Kong leader John Lee told Goldman on Wednesday. He told executives, including executives from Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan.

Hong Kong is struggling to emerge from Beijing’s relentless “no coronavirus” policy and restore a global reputation damaged by a widespread crackdown on pro-democracy protests.US lawmakers urge bankers to boycott investment summit, attendance “plaster” of China’s authoritarian rule over a former semi-autonomous territory.

For residents who have endured difficult years under COVID-19 rules, the loopholes and exceptions given to visiting cadres are stinging. “For the rules to be fair, they should be done at all levels of society. If you find it hard to hold these summits, open Hong Kong,” Fishball Tours.

Like many other business owners in the city, Chan’s bottom line has been devastated by severe COVID-19 restrictions. Her company was doing her 60 group trips a month. Now she’s grateful to have had her three so far this month.

Few would argue that cities need an economic shock. In 2019, a city-wide pro-democracy movement terrified tourists. Covid-19 restrictions then prevented non-residents from entering the city during his two years. The prolonged and mandatory hotel quarantines have resulted in an outflow of professional workers, many of whom have moved to rival cities such as Singapore.

the economy recessionThousands of small businesses have closed and many people have lost their jobs.

Authorities took a big step toward reopening in September when they waived quarantine requirements for hotels. say. Travelers are prohibited from entering restaurants, bars and many other businesses for 3 days after arrival and are subject to health surveillance for a week.

“Tourists don’t come,” said Eric Lee, owner of a souvenir shop that sells retro toy cars and snacks. The revenue of the Hong Kong Tram Store, which he has been operating for almost 10 years, has fallen by 70% in the past two years. “Can a tourist put up with scanning his QR code here and there?” he asked, referring to the cumbersome smartphone app required for visitors.

“You don’t have to do these things anywhere else,” he said. “So, what about the mask?”

Some of these minor hassles have been scrapped to persuade financial executives to visit the city this week. It seems that he was given a pass when he returned to the city after test positive However, he was allowed to skip quarantine to ditch his mask for an important speech and attend the event.

Chan told reporters that health officials treated his case like any other. “There are no special privileges at all,” he said.

Many refused to visit Hong Kong, even though VIPs were given special privileges. According to officials, 12,000 people have signed up for fintech. That’s just over half of his 20,000 visitors expected by organizers.

Some of the celebrities on the financial summit guest list, including Citigroup’s Jane Fraser, Blackstone’s Jonathan Gray and Capital Group’s Timothy Armour, were canceled at the last minute, four of them due to Covid-19 or Due to virus-like symptoms.

Bankers who visited Hong Kong this week, mostly for a few days only, attended a private dinner at M+, the new contemporary art museum, and met with employees for the first time in over two years.

US lawmakers and advocacy groups discouraged bankers from attending, but officials in Beijing and Hong Kong showered executives with praise.

“Your presence today puts an eye-opening exclamation mark on this welcoming gathering,” Hong Kong leader Lee told bankers on Wednesday.Chinese state media The summit rang as a sign of Hong Kong’s revival as a global city.

One of China’s regulators, Fang Xinghai, urged visiting bankers not to read international media reports about China. During his discussion on a panel with the heads of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, UBS Chairman Colm Kelleher asserted to the audience, “We are all very pro-China.”

Still, it was impossible to shield executives from the way Hong Kong tried to protect some of Beijing’s Covid policies. A sign stating “PCR Test Center”, a key requirement, stood out.

To lure back more visitors, city officials have also adjusted Covid rules for Hong Kong’s top sporting event, the Rugby Sevens tournament.

Officials initially said eating and drinking in the stands would not be allowed, but then said masks would still be required but small amounts of food and drink would be allowed. Rafael Seguin, who had hoped to

Seguin had already had two doses of the Covid vaccine when he booked a flight from Marseille, France, where he runs a soap factory. Later, when most locals heard that he needed three injections to enter restaurants and other venues, he rushed to get a booster before he flew off, but after 14 days I found that it is not valid until “I was stressed the entire ride,” he said, but the post-arrival testing procedure proved efficient.

Seguin, 37, grew up in Hong Kong and returned to renew his permanent residency.

“I now live in a world where most people don’t care about COVID-19 on a daily basis,” Seguin said. “When you come here, this is the center of everything.”

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