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UBS gives Hong Kong staff COVID quarantine cash -memo

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FILE PHOTO: Logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen in Zurich
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HONG KONG (Reuters) - UBS Group AG has offered its Hong Kong staff up to HK$2000 ($256.45) a day to help cover mandatory hotel quarantine costs as the city maintains some of the strictest COVID restrictions in the world.

In a memo seen by Reuters, the bank said full-time employees up to executive director level would be eligible for the payments between now and the end of November 2022.

A UBS spokesperson in Hong Kong confirmed the contents of the memo.

Hong Kong requires 21-day compulsory hotel quarantine for arrivals from most countries which is paid for by the traveller.

The city last week banned non-residents from entering Hong Kong from a further four African countries and will expand that to travellers who have been to Australia, Canada, Israel and six European countries in the past 21 days due to fears over the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Hong Kong is one of the final places in the world pursuing a zero-COVID strategy and has some of the tightest travel restrictions.

In coming months it hopes to partially reopen the border with mainland China, which also has no tolerance for coronavirus cases.

The strategy is a growing headache for major employers such as banks as they try to retain staff in Hong Kong.

JPMorgan is granting some staff a one-off payment of up to $5,000 to cover their quarantine costs.

($1 = 7.7988 Hong Kong dollars)

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; editing by Jason Neely)

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