Hong Kong’s borders have been sealed for greater than a 12 months and its quarantine guidelines — which require compulsory hotel stays of as much as three weeks — are among the many strictest on the earth.
Corporate executives, nevertheless, are actually eligible for particular therapy.
The metropolis’s Securities and Futures Commission quietly revealed a notice on Friday saying that totally vaccinated “senior executives” from native firms or their worldwide associates may apply for an exemption to skip quarantine once they go to or return to Hong Kong. It didn’t concern a information launch, and the discover supplied no rationalization for the timing or justification for the measure.
Neither the Securities and Futures Commission nor Hong Kong’s Department of Health responded to requests for touch upon Saturday.
The Chinese territory reported no new instances on Friday. Though densely populated, it has managed to keep away from a full lockdown and has saved its coronavirus caseload low via aggressive social distancing guidelines and compelled quarantine in authorities services for shut contacts of Covid-19 sufferers, amongst different measures. Even vaccinated vacationers should quarantine in motels for one to 2 weeks, relying on the place they fly in from.
The quarantine exemption introduced on Friday is just not the primary for corporate executives in Hong Kong; an identical one was issued last year for executives from native firms re-entering the territory from the Chinese mainland. But it additional illustrates how coronavirus insurance policies within the Hong Kong, which has one of the biggest income inequality gaps in the world, don’t apply evenly to all of its 7.5 million residents.
Officials have imposed lockdowns and mass testing after Covid-19 clusters had been detected in poor neighborhoods, the place many residents stay in crowded tenements with defective piping and poor air flow. Critics have accused the federal government of permitting the situations for outbreaks to fester, then imposing heavy-handed measures on a bunch that may least afford to bear them.
The authorities has additionally repeatedly accused the 370,000 or so migrant home staff who stay within the metropolis of violating social distancing restrictions, despite the fact that main outbreaks have revolved round clusters of expatriates and rich locals.
In early May, the federal government backtracked on a contentious order that would have required all migrant domestic workers to be vaccinated. But it nonetheless went forward with a plan to topic them to a second spherical of obligatory coronavirus testing, regardless of the primary spherical turning up simply three positives amongst 340,000 folks.
The authorities has stated that its obligatory testing protocols are primarily based solely on “risk assessment” and apply equally to anybody working in high-risk locations, together with nursing properties.