lørdag 23. april 2022

Hong Kong and Shanghai lose their international luster as Covid restrictions bite

The glittering skylines of Hong Kong and Shanghai have long been associated with wealth and glamor.
But in recent weeks, they have become synonymous with a much grimmer reality, as authorities in the two international finance hubs struggle to contain raging Omicron outbreaks. Extreme Covid measures have heavily restricted the lives of residents in both cities, with Shanghai now entering the third week of government-mandated home lockdown, and Hong Kong chafing under a third year of quarantine and travel curbs.

Once China's gateways to the West, heavy-handed border closures and suspended air routes have closed the two cities off to much of the world, even as other hubs open up. On Tuesday, just a single flight arrived in Hong Kong from outside Asia Pacific -- a stark contrast to the pre-pandemic era when the city's airport was one of the world's busiest, regularly hosting 1,100 passenger and cargo flights daily to and from 200 international destinations.