HSBC requests all of Its Hong Kong staff to get vaccinated

by BLOOMBERG / pic by AFP

HSBC Holdings Plc asked all of its Hong Kong staff to get vaccinated against the Covid virus after city authorities issued a new circular to push for higher inoculation rates.

Colleagues who have not received a first dose should either get inoculated by Nov. 30 or submit to a Covid test every 14 days, the London-based bank, which counts Hong Kong as its largest market, said in a memo to staff seen by Bloomberg News. The memo was confirmed by a bank spokesman.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority and four other regulator issued circulars to financial institutions last week “strongly encouraging all employees to get vaccinated or undergo virus testing every two weeks,” according to HSBC. The circulars expanded on a June request that staff in client facing roles or support functions get vaccinated. 

Hong Kong has struggled to get its population vaccinated, lagging behind rival financial centers such as Singapore, London and New York. The city’s zero-Covid policy has been successful in keeping local cases at bay, and most businesses have been back to close to full capacity over the past months. HSBC opened its offices fully in June.

HSBC’s memo was earlier reported on by the Hong Kong Economic Times.

The city is also seeking to open its border to mainland China to foster cross-border business and promote the return of Chinese tourists, while it has kept in place strict quarantine measures for travelers coming in from outside China.

In Singapore, which has abandoned its zero Covid strategy, city officials plan to restrict access to the workplace for those who are unvaccinated from January unless they test negative daily as part of plans to resume normal activities.

Hong Kong has about 60% of its population fully vaccinated, while Singapore’s rate is about 84%.