As the slow vaccine rollout in Hong Kong continues and the city’s failure to produce a usable exit plan from the pandemic becomes more eminent, finance circles in the city are starting to revolt.
It’s been over a hundred days since the start of vaccination procedures in the city and so far, less than 5% of the people older than 70 have shown up to take the shots.
The failed vaccine program, alongside the general government mistrust reigning in the city, may lead to prohibiting international travel for another year putting Hong Kong in de facto lockdown for more than a year and a half now.
According to international financial experts, this situation may lead to Hong Kong losing its financial competitiveness, while others still hope that the city government can find a path that would manage to improve public health and business travel at the same time.
As of now, the long lockdown in Hong Kong looks like more of an experiment: for how long will the financial center be able to hold out with no foreign travels? How long will businesses and airlines survive without travel and tourism?
So far, the city government has no direct answers.
Carrie Lam, city chief executive, said that Hong Kong will not sacrifice the health of its residents just to rush reopening any of the borders.
Now, even though it seems vaccine bookings are on the rise, businesses are still a bit uneasy when assessing the future plans of the city government. At the moment, Hong Kong only allows government officials and mainland executives from firms such as Alibaba or Tencent to travel without spending time in quarantine.
For some experts, this is a direct sign that the city will become a full-on Chinese global financial epicenter, further fueling its economic growth, which is too reliant on the country’s capital.