Strict quarantine measures may force businesses to leave HK: EU Chambers

The stringent quarantine measures now in place may leave enterprises with no choice but to consider leaving Hong Kong, said the chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce, Frederik Gollob.

Speaking to the BBC, Gollob said enterprises hate uncertainty, and they need to devise plan and strategies for the future. He described the situation of Hong Kong as “being put in a black box.”

He said he cannot estimate how exactly the stringent quarantine measures will affect European businesses in the city. He also agreed that national security law imposed last July and the anti-sanction law which is on its way could be the cause for businesses to leave Hong Kong and relocate in other regions.

Last month, Gollob sent a letter to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, saying the changes to quarantine requirements announced on August 15th “present a significant setback.”

He recommended the SAR government create and communicate “a clear exit strategy to the pandemic” and continue to relax all quarantine measures for vaccinated visitors.

Gollob also said the chamber has been discussing the role and status of Hong Kong for the past two years, including the number of employees it should keep in the city and the possibility of traveling across Asia without much restrictions.

If Hong Kong’s stringent quarantine measures remain, enterprises must consider relocating part of their businesses elsewhere, Gollob stressed. He noted that if businesses leave Hong Kong, it means the city is paying the price for her “zero-infection” policy. The longer the policy remains in place, the costlier the price is, he added.

The SAR government replied to the BBC and said they are highly concerned on how other countries or economies devise strategies to deal with Covid-19. They said they must adjust quarantine measures in accordance with the actual circumstances and put the well being of the public before all else. They also said Hong Kong needs a higher vaccination rate before quarantine measures can be relaxed.

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