Coronavirus Update: Hong Kong cautiously, slowly returns to normal

    Mar 12, 2020 @ 12:36 PM / by Morgan Grenier

    HK empty shelves and no sanitizer

    Availability of disinfectant a few weeks ago in Hong Kong was non-existent. Photo taken by AIRINC surveyor Yimkwan Tsang.

    Coronavirus in Hong Kong  

    The outbreak of COVID-19 began to impact Hong Kong in late January, following the initial spread of the virus in mainland China. In the first weeks of the outbreak, supply of hygiene related goods, like masks and hand sanitizer, was unable to meet the sharp increase in demand. 

    These goods faced intermittent shortages, long queues, and price gouging. However, stock of these goods has stabilized and the government has cracked down on independent sellers. Masks are now available across Hong Kong, although at higher prices than in the past. Face masks continue to be worn by the majority of the population, though some people, including expatriates, choose not to, focusing more on good hygiene practices over mask wearing.

    Availability stable, home delivery remains popular

    Availability of other goods has remained mostly stable. Imported items, including those from mainland China, remain in steady supply. Many people are avoiding contact with others, including shopping trips. Online shopping and home food delivery, which surged during the more pervasive restrictions in place weeks ago, remain popular.

    There are other signs of a return to normalcy in Hong Kong. Some restaurants, many of which closed in February, have begun to reopen. Most public services have resumed, as the majority of Hong Kong’s civil servants returned to work in the last two weeks. More private businesses have been asking employees to return to work as well.

    While streets remain much quieter than normal, there is an increasing amount of commuters. The government has urged private employers to be flexible in light of continued challenges, such as child care needs for workers. Schools in Hong Kong have been closed for about seven weeks, and won’t resume until April 20 at the earliest. While there are some attitudes that the worst is over, many in Hong Kong remain on alert, practicing social distancing, avoiding gatherings, and being diligent with hygiene precautions.

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    Topics: Mobility Issues, Mobility Policy, Global Mobility, ALERT, Insights and Experience, Hong Kong, Global Mobility News, Coronavirus, COVID-19

    Morgan Grenier

    Written by Morgan Grenier

    Morgan graduated with a BA in Communications and Journalism from Simmons College, where she received a Gold Medal from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. She joined AIRINC in 2016 as a Goods and Services Analyst. In this role, she aids in the quarterly analysis of survey data and evaluates hardship for AIRINC’s Hardship Database.