HSBC, Standard Chartered and other Hong Kong banks closed branches or shortened their working hours Monday after a increase in the number of new cases of coronavirus in the Asian financial hub. Over the weekend, Hong Kong reported over 100 cases in a 24-hour span, the most since the pandemic took hold in late January. The increase in cases brought almost 2,000 patients to the count, 12 of whom have died.
Hong Kong banks shut down counts of branches late January when the first wave of cases of coronavirus hit the area. Many later reopened as dropping case numbers. Bank of China (Hong Kong) said it would suspend services in nine branches because of the spread of the virus in a statement Monday. Services at three branches had already been discontinued, one of which reopened on Monday.
HSBC affiliate Hang Seng Bank closed a deep cleaning branch for 14 days after a staff member preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19, it said on Sunday. Standard Chartered and East Asia Bank said they would shorten operating hours for the branch. Carrie Lam, chief executive of Hong Kong on Sunday declared tighter controls on coronavirus with non-essential civil servants being ordered to operate from home.