The Hong Kong leader on Tuesday defended granting an exemption to JPMorgan Chase chairman and chief executive Jamie Dimon, who entered the city without undergoing the strict three-week quarantine, saying the risks were “fully controllable. “.
Dimon, the first Wall Street investment bank chief to visit Chinese territory since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, has arrived from the United States and will only spend 32 hours in Hong Kong meeting with regulators and 4 000 employees in a virtual “town hall”.
“[Dimon’s] Case . . . was based on the interests of [Hong Kong’s] economic development, ”Carrie Lam, Managing Director of Hong Kong, told reporters. “[JPMorgan] is after all a huge bank with significant business in Hong Kong.
She said Dimon’s trip posed only “controllable risks” as his itinerary was approved “with restrictions.” These curbs included wearing a face mask, maintaining distance during meetings, and not shaking hands.
Travelers from the United States, along with 24 other high-risk countries, including much of Europe, are to undergo hotel quarantine for 21 days. Actress Nicole Kidman’s exemption from quarantine in August to direct a television series on Amazon has sparked public outcry over the “special treatment.”
While the Hong Kong government had allowed a small number of business leaders to skip the mandatory quarantine due to economic development concerns, officials had removed most of the exemptions last week in a bid to meet expectations of Beijing by facilitating the reopening of borders with mainland China.
Hong Kong has granted 93 quarantine waivers to senior officials out of 399 requests received as of Nov. 11, according to government figures provided to the Financial Times.
A number of Dimon’s counterparts at major international banks have been quarantined in the city, including HSBC chairman Mark Tucker and chief executive Noel Quinn. Standard Chartered chief executive Bill Winters was granted a limited exemption from quarantine this summer, meaning he was allowed out for certain business meetings.
Others have avoided coming to town altogether. David Solomon, managing director of Goldman Sachs, will arrive this week in Singapore – which has ended its quarantine requirements for travelers from the United States – on his first trip to Asia since the start of the crisis.
Lam, the city’s chief, also said on Tuesday that around 130 Cathay Pacific cargo pilots had been sent to a 21-day quarantine after three of their colleagues who stayed at the same hotel in Frankfurt tested positive for the coronavirus.
She acknowledged that the move could “greatly affect” the city’s freight logistics. The airline, after discussions with officials, has imposed stricter quarantine measures so that all flight attendants self-isolate for three days and avoid gatherings on arrival.