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.
As of Feb 26, 2020, the number of confirmed cases of CoViD-19 has risen to 91 with 2 fatalities. The anxiety on the ground in Hong Kong is pervasive. In my neighborhood, for example, there was a recent Coronavirus fatality. For many residents in Hong Kong, present events are stirring memories from of our lives during SARS in 2003. I was young at the time and mostly recall the extended holidays and chatting with friends online, but the fear of older residents who lived through previous outbreaks is tangible.
AIRINC recently conducted a “pulse survey” to understand how global companies operating in China who maintain expatriate staff in the country are responding to the outbreak. Out of the 110 companies who participated in the survey, 99 companies or 90% are considering implementing specific actions for assignees in China in response to the spread of the COVID-19.
Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has continued to spread over the past week and the World Health Organization named the virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on Thursday, January 30. As of Friday morning in China, there were 9,776 confirmed cases and 213 deaths. The WHO stressed in their Thursday press briefing that 99% of cases are in Mainland China. 60% of cases and 96% of deaths are in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak where Wuhan is located. Isolated cases are still emerging internationally, with confirmed cases in Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Macau, South Korea, United States, France, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Italy, Vietnam, Cambodia, Finland, India, Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka.
On December 31, 2019, health authorities in China informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of a unique strain of viral pneumonia-like illness emerging in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Many of the infected first identified were vendors or visitors at a wet market that sold fish and wild animal meat, which was subsequently closed on January 1, 2020.
AIRINC recently adjusted its hardship score for Hong Kong, due to the continuing political volatility and unpredictability surrounding the demonstrations, as well as the heightened tensions resulting from the protests.
Since June, Hong Kong has seen unprecedented protests, larger and more frequent than any in the country’s recent history. We have increased the hardship scoring of Hong Kong in response to the rise in political volatility.
Initial costs of renting in England became cheaper last month as the Tenant Fees Act came into effect. While a ban to tenant fees has been discussed for a few years, the current legislation wasn’t finalized and passed until February. Scotland banned letting fees in 2012, and Wales is expected to pass a similar ban this fall.
In the last two weeks, Hong Kong has seen some of the largest protests in its history as citizens and residents have taken to the streets to protest a proposed extradition bill. Demonstrations have been centered around Admiralty and the surrounding areas of Central and Wan Chai.
For many years, the expatriate rental market in Turkey has been dominated by leases signed and paid in USD or EUR. In September of this year, President Erdogan issued a decree stating that all leases in foreign currency must be converted to Turkish lira (TRY). This move was made to stem the sharp inflation that battered Turkey’s currency in 2018, resulting in a loss of over half its value at its worst point.