Hong Kong’s flight ban has left exeutives stranded outside of the global finance hub, which Fitch Ratings has said could curb its economic growth prospects.
The two-week circuit breaker comes after the city recorded its first Covid-19 cases at the end of December, after three months without community transmission.
“We believe the tightening of restrictions on international arrivals will create further obstacles to the territory’s ability to serve as a regional headquarters for foreign multinationals,” Fitch Ratings told the Financial Times.
It echoes what JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon said late last year amid another set of sudden restrictions – that they have made a tough hiring environment for large financiers.
Hong Kong has also introduced a seven-day quarantine for pilots and crew operating cargo flights, which has derailed a number of flight schedules.
Cathay Pacific has slashed its cargo capacity to 20 per cent and passenger capacity to two per cent of pre-pandemic levels as a result.
Stranded executive director of the British Chambers of Commerce in Hong Kong, David Graham said the “unfortunate” flight ban had taken many workers whose families are overseas by surprise.
“It will inevitably cause considerable disturbance and inconvenience, particularly for the many Hong Kong-based executives and employees who travelled to the UK for the Christmas period to be with family and who were looking to return to Hong Kong early in January,” he said.
“We very much hope that the ban will be for a very limited period given the extensive quarantine and testing measures already in place for those returning from the UK.”