With the coronavirus ricocheting back to Hong Kong in recent weeks – largely driven by imported infections – Financial Secretary of Hong Kong Paul Chan Mo-po wrote in his blog yesterday that the city's economy may continue to suffer for another six months. Individuals and businesses should get ready for that.
Parts of the US and Europe are reeling due to the epidemic. Many businesses there have ceased their operations – meaning Hong Kong companies are facing a halt or cancellation in payments and orders from their overseas clients.
Therefore, the economic hit to Hong Kong is likely to expand from originally affected industries such as the retail and tourism sectors to almost all industries.
Employers are facing financial stress from rent, employees' remuneration, and other possible repercussions caused by the dwindling earnings, while workers are hit by job losses and salaries cuts.
In light of this, the government is planning to offer comprehensive aid to safeguard businesses and jobs. Further details of the relief measures have not been revealed. Chan urged landlords and developers to take on social responsibility now and reduce rents for their tenants.
Since 1 April, all karaoke lounges, clubs, mahjong parlours have halted their operations, adding to the list of entertainment venues banned that already includes cinemas, gyms, ice rinks and video game arcades.
A total of 28 more COVID-19 cases were confirmed yesterday, bringing the city's tally of confirmed infections to 890.