Shanghai urged to ease strict Covid rules

28 Apr 2022

Shanghai authorities are being urged by a lobby group to permit hundreds of employees to return home after the lockdown measures meant they remained in office buildings.

Earlier this week, the Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (ASIFMA) requested authorities to allow financial companies to rotate staff who are required to work from offices.

Over 20,000 traders, bankers and other staff were forced to stay in office towers in the Lujiazui district during the strict Covid measures, as they kept Shanghai running during the lockdown.

They haven’t left the offices and been outside since 28th March, when the restrictions were imposed within areas east of the Huangpu river, according to the district government.

"Currently, there are hundreds of employees from financial services firms who have been trapped in their office buildings for several weeks and separated from their families," the ASIFMA letter stated.

"Not knowing how long this outbreak will last, or if future outbreaks might lead to additional lockdowns, we seek solutions for rotational support to help build a sustainable model and to promote stability of the financial markets."

The majority of the 52 banks and businesses within the sector that belong to ASIFMA have operations and a large number of staff within Shanghai. Yet the current rules mean firms in the global financial hub must maintain minimum staff within offices to continue trading operations, Reuters reports.

ASIFMA joins other global business groups, such as the European Union Chamber of Commerce, who have pressed China to review its policies and permit home quarantine for some Covid patients.

Professionals working in the finance sector in Shanghai are seeking to return to Hong Kong and other offshore hubs as the strict lockdown in Shanghai has greatly impacted lives and business prospects.