HONG KONG, July 20 (Reuters) - HSBC, Standard
Chartered and other banks in Hong Kong closed branches
or curtailed their working hours on Monday after a spike in the
number of new coronavirus cases in the Asian financial hub.
Hong Kong recorded more than 100 cases in a 24-hour period
over the weekend, the most since the pandemic took hold in late
The rise in cases took the tally close to 2,000 patients, 12
of whom have died.
Hong Kong banks shut scores of branches in late January when
the first wave of the coronavirus cases hit the city. These
later reopened as case numbers dropped.
Bank of China (Hong Kong) said in a statement on
Monday it would suspend services at nine branches due to the
spread of the virus. It had already suspended services at three
branches, one of which reopened on Monday.
HSBC said in a separate statement it would temporarily close
two business centres for commercial banking and three mobile
branches operating from trucks, and shorten operating hours at
HSBC subsidiary Hang Seng Bank closed one branch
for 14 days for deep cleaning after a member of staff
preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19, it said on Sunday.
Standard Chartered and Bank of East Asia said they
would shorten branch opening hours.
On Sunday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced
tighter coronavirus restrictions with non-essential civil
servants told to work from home.
Amusement parks, gyms and 10 other types of venues will
remain closed for another seven days, while a requirement for
restaurants to only provide takeaway after 6.00 p.m. was
extended. Face masks will be mandatory in indoor public areas.
(Reporting by Alun John and Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by