Hong Kong (China) further relaxes restrictions against COVID-19
The number of daily new cases in Hong Kong has dropped to triple digits since mid-April. (Image: AP)
On May 3, Chief of the Special Administrative Region Hong Kong Lam Trinh Nguyet Nga said that from May 19, bars will be allowed to extend their opening hours until 2am, karaoke bars and some other places will be reopened.
Beaches and swimming pools will be open to residents and visitors from May 5. Meanwhile, restaurants will allow eight people to sit at a table, up from four before, Lam Trinh Nguyet Nga told a press conference.
Hong Kong reported 283 new COVID-19 cases on May 2, the first time the number of daily new cases fell below 300 in nearly three months. The city has recorded more than 1.2 million infections and over 9,300 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
“The daily number of COVID-19 cases has dropped to triple digits since mid-April and hasn’t increased again, despite an increase in commuter traffic during the two holidays,” Lam said.
The restrictions due to COVID-19 affected business in Hong Kong, causing the number of residents leaving the city to rise to about 70,000 in February and March, from nearly 17,000 in December 2021.
Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Lam Trinh Nguyet Nga. (Photo: AP)
For some people, the easing restrictions It may be too late as many businesses in the food and beverage industry in Hong Kong have had to lay off employees as they struggle to pay rent and shop in one of the most expensive real estate markets. best of the world.
Life in Hong Kong is slowly returning to normal, with schools resuming face-to-face classes and many people returning to work in offices.
However, the city government still requires a 7-day hotel quarantine for all people entering the special administrative zone. This makes Hong Kong one of the few municipalities outside of China that still impose travel restrictions.
Gary Ng, a senior economist at Natixis in Hong Kong, said the easing of anti-epidemic restrictions will help revive consumption but still not enough for a full recovery of the economy:
“Strict border control regulation is still detrimental because it severely damages Hong Kong’s competitiveness. The negative impact is reflected not only in the immigration of people but also in activities. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s exports to mainland China in March 2022 fell 16% year-on-year, while Asian peers kept their growth momentum at 12% y-o-y. Therefore, Hong Kong needs to accelerate the reopening of its borders to the outside before its competitors catch up. Better late than never.”
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