Hong Kong loses HK$600 billion due to pandemic

Hong Kong already lost HK$600 billion under the pandemic, and its economy can hardly recover if vaccination progress remains sluggish and border restrictions cannot be lifted, Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce chief executive George Leung Siu-kay said.

It is a win-win for the business sector to launch vaccine lotteries, which can help citizens resume some of their social activities and to help boost the economy, Leung said after his chamber announced a vaccine lottery with prizes worth more than HK$30 million last week.

In a radio program today, Leung said Hong Kong is a small city with an externally oriented economy, and resuming cross-border travel is “the most important factor” of economic resumption.

“According to ?International Monetary Fund’s estimation, Hong Kong has already lost around HK$600 billion due to the pandemic, this is a pretty big number,” Leung said

He added that the economic downturn will continue if the borders remain closed.

“We need to resume travel with other countries to recover our economy and we cannot rely on fiscal reserves to support the economy, this is the only feasible way now,” Leung said.

Leung said the General Chamber of Commerce initiated the vaccine lottery to encourage Hong Kong citizens to get vaccinated, and the business industry responded actively.

Currently, more than 10,000 prizes worth over HK$30 million have been offered, including vehicles, MTR tickets and coupons at shopping malls, Leung said, adding that there will be around 5,000 prize winners.

Leung said Hong Kong residents who have received two doses of the vaccine could register for the lottery at the chamber’s website starting July 2. They will need to provide their Hong Kong ID number and mobile phone number.

The first round of the lucky draw will start on July 22, and participants who did not win the lottery will enter the next rounds. There will be a total of seven rounds of lucky draws, he added.

As of yesterday, more than 1.9 million Hongkongers have received the first dose of Covid-19 vaccines — taking the city’s vaccination rate to 28.2 percent.

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