The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has said that strict virus quarantine measures in Hong Kong are not being applied on top bankers.
An application for the mandatory 21-day quarantine could be filed by senior banking executives who are fully vaccinated against Clovid-19.
There were warnings issued previously by the city’s authorities that the position of the city as a global financial centre could be hit because of the slow rate of vaccination.
Hong Kong has in place some of the strictest quarantine restrictions in the world
According to the SFC announcement, relaxations in mandatory quarantine would be applicable to a maximum of two senior executives from each of the financial services firms that are licensed by SFC as well as two of overseas affiliates of such companies through an application for waiver.
A copy of their passport photo page or identity card, an itinerary of their visit and proof that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will have to be provided to the SFC by the applicants applying for quarantine exemption at least five days prior to the date of theyr entry into the city.
The SFC is the official body that issues licences allowing firms including investment banks, securities brokerages and asset managers to operate in Hong Kong.
Only those activities that are listed in the itinerary supplied to authorities will be allowed to be attended by anyone granted the exemption or else they will have to self-isolate. In case the authorities find any exempted individual breaking the rules, their exemption would be lost and they would be sent to three week quarantine.
Those convicted of breaking the rules would also face six months in prison and a HK$5,000 ($644, £454) fine.
Currently those who do not have to go through compulsory quarantine in Hong Kong are government officials.
In a separate development, authorities last week had warned that vast stores of coronavirus vaccines could have to be thrown away because of reluctance of residents to take the shots. The number of people Hong Kong who have been given the shot is less than 20 per cent even while the city has more than enough doses required to vaccinate the entire population.
A relatively small number of infections and distrust of the government are the two major reasons attributed to the low take-up rate of Covid-19 vaccines.
The government authorities of Hong Kong are trying to revive economy of the city following the Covid-19 hit to the economy and long drawn political unrest and tensions pursing the economy into its worst recession ever.
According to official figures published earlier this month, the economy of Hong Kong had finally turned the corner and moved out of a year and a half of contractions. But there were also concerns the recovery is uneven.
(Adapted from SCMP.com)