Hong Kong is offering top bankers exemptions from strict virus quarantine measures, said the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

Senior executives who are fully vaccinated can apply to be exempted from a mandatory 21-day quarantine.

It comes after authorities had previously warned that slow vaccination uptake could hurt the city’s position as a global financial centre.

Hong Kong has some of the world’s strictest quarantine restrictions.

A maximum of two senior executives from each of the financial services companies that are licensed by SFC and two of their overseas affiliates can apply for the waiver, according to the announcement.

Five days before their trip, those applying for quarantine exemption have to provide the SFC with 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.

The SFC is the official body that issues licences allowing firms including investment banks, securities brokerages and asset managers to operate in Hong Kong.

Anyone granted the exemption is allowed to attend only activities listed in the itinerary supplied to authorities and has to self-isolate otherwise.

Anyone found breaking the rules would lose that exemption and be sent to a quarantine centre for three weeks.

Those convicted of breaking the rules would also face six months in prison and a HK$5,000 ($644, £454) fine.

Hong Kong Government Officials Gets Second Jab Of Sinovac Covid-19 Vaccine
Vaccine uptake has been slow in Hong Kong

Government officials are currently among those who do not have to go through compulsory quarantine.

Separately last week, Hong Kong warned that it could have to throw away vast stores of coronavirus vaccines because of people’s reluctance to be injected.

Less than 20% of people have had a jab, even though Hong Kong has more than enough doses for the whole population.

The low take-up rate has been blamed on a relatively small number of infections and distrust of the government.

Hong Kong’s government is keen to reinvigorate the city’s economy, after the pandemic and years of political tensions helped push the city into its worst ever recession.

Earlier this month, official figures showed that Hong Kong’s economy had finally emerged from a year and a half of contractions, but concerns remain that the recovery is uneven.

Source: BBC