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Asia Minute: Hong Kong maintains and extends tight quarantine restrictions

Hong Kong Financial Markets coronavirus
Kin Cheung/AP
People wearing face masks walk past a bank's electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

As many cities, countries and territories around the world are easing COVID-19 restrictions, a few are going the other way.

China is the biggest example — this week locking down a city of 4 million — because of 39 new cases in a week.

Hong Kong is another place that has adopted a “zero infection” policy — this week tightening already severe quarantine restrictions.

Arriving travelers from the United States and other locations judged to be “high risk” must spend three weeks in quarantine.

Asia’s biggest regional lobby group for the financial industry says that’s hurting business.

The Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association warned the government this week that if the city “does not develop and communicate a clear and meaningful exit strategy from the current zero-case approach, Hong Kong risks losing its vital international status.”

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has a different perspective.

This week she made it clear that her priority is aligning policy with Beijing, saying “Hong Kong’s primary advantage lies in being the gateway to the mainland of China.”

Her government put in a new restriction on Wednesday — all recovered COVID-19 patients in Hong Kong now have to spend a 14-day quarantine in a special facility after leaving the hospital.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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