This is an information broadcast on the Coronavirus in China and Hong Kong, issued 20 Feb 2020.
Our local Destination Services Provider has informed us of the following: (20th Feb 2020)
Mainland China – Impact on Destination services
- Most international schools in China will remain closed until at least 2nd March 2020, with the possibility of this being extended longer. Many schools have implemented an online, home-schooling process which is apparently causing some additional stress to parents when coupled with the worries concerning the CoVid19 outbreak. There are no campus visits being made. Admission offices remain open and processing applications which have already been submitted.
- Property viewings are severely restricted. Only residents are being granted access to compounds. Home Searches are very limited and will not be representative of properties available in normal times.
- Expat orientated doctors and hospitals remain open but often by appointment only and only if necessary. Those who may have CoVid19 symptoms must attend Government run hospitals.
- There are very few social activities and clubs remaining open. Gyms, playgrounds,some shopping malls and cinemas remain closed. This restriction differs from location to location.
- Access to Supermarkets and Groceries remains good. Although opening hours are modified, there is no news regarding food shortages. There are shortages in face masks, hand sanitizers, anti-bacterial soaps, etc.
- With residential compounds remaining closed to visitors, couriers, food deliveries, etc. will usually go to a designated gate. Residents are temperature checked and those found above 37.3 will need to visit a designated ‘fever clinic’. Travelers are being asked to home-quarantine themselves for 14 days, although this doesn’t stop food shopping after a temperature check.
Impact on Visa & Immigration services
- The Chinese exit-entry bureaus and local foreign expert bureaus returned to work 10th February 2020
- New work permit applications are still being submitted via the standard online process although the face to face is not currently needed. Local host companies are being asked to provide a ‘commitment letter’ for each on-going case and ensure all the application documents submitted online are authentic
- New Residency permit applications still require the applicants physical presence at the local bureaus
- Understandably there are delays in the application processes
Hong Kong – the Impact on services
- The Education bureau announced 13th February 2020 that schools defer class resumption until 16th March 2020. Schools have commenced on-line tuition.
- Most Hong Kong civil servants are expected to work from home until 23rd February 2020, and this includes Hong Kong Immigration
- Immigration has suspended filing of new work visa applications. Whilst renewals are being processed there is no timeline for completion
- Home Searches: Most landlords expect prospective tenants to wear masks and some buildings have instigated temperature checks upon entry
Given the atypical circumstances, new assignees, home and host organisations should expect delays and inconvenience. Whilst we are taking maximum precautions and making every effort to make the process as straight-forward as possible, it will be challenging. We will continue to communicate with each assignee and their family based on their personal circumstances in their location. We will keep you posted on new developments.