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OPINION

Bankers marooned in Hong Kong learn to adapt

Hong Kong’s harsh quarantine rules could stay for another year – and possibly longer. So could China’s. Bankers aren’t happy, but they’ve learned to adapt.

Hong-Kong-quarantine-hotel-sign-Reuters-960.jpg
A sign at the entrance to a quarantine hotel in Hong Kong. Photo: Reuters

When will Hong Kong ease its harsh Covid quarantine laws and begin to open up again to the world?

“There are two schools of thought,” says a Hong Kong-based private banker. “A lot of white-collar workers casually say March 2022. Locals shake their head – they think nothing will happen until next November.”

A casual Monday call-around of a dozen bankers, analysts and wealth managers secured a wide range of answers.

There was one bold “March 2022, definitely” and two “spring 2022s”. But most erred on the side of caution, tipping strict rules to stay in place, even on vaccinated arrivals into Hong Kong’s once-bustling airport, until at least November 2022.

Both dates matter for different reasons.

March, because by then, revelry around Lunar New Year (February 1) and the Beijing Winter Olympics (February 4 to 20) will have abated.

And November, as it is when Xi Jinping should see his tenure as president extended to a third term, at a twice-in-a-decade Communist Party congress.

There