HONG KONG • Hong Kong should consider allowing residents who have tested negative for the coronavirus to travel to China and Macau in reciprocal arrangements that could help the city’s economic recovery, according to Financial Secretary Paul Chan.
Once the coronavirus outbreak is contained, the arrangements could be extended to other parts of the Asia-Pacific region, Chan wrote in his blog yesterday. The number of new infections in Hong Kong jumped 40% in July from the end-June, signalling the economy will face more severe pressure in the third quarter, he said.
The worsening outbreaks in other countries mean global business activities and tourism to Hong Kong will be slow to recover, Chan said. While the US and Europe may experience a deep recession, China’s economy is starting to regain momentum, Chan said.
Key economic drivers for Hong Kong, including domestic consumption and fixed-asset investment, accelerated their declines in the second quarter while the drop in exports narrowed, Chan said. The Hong Kong government cannot continue to provide relief measures to residents and businesses in the long term, he said. The Hong Kong government gave handouts of HK$10,000 (RM5,470) to all adult permanent residents and provided billions of dollars in support for employers. The city’s economy contracted 9% in the second quarter. — Bloomberg