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Hong Kong’s Yawning Wealth Gap Grows Wider Amid Pandemic

  • Unrest, virus saw 250,000 people losing work, data show
  • Weak social safety net leaves vulnerable groups suffering

Hong Kong is emerging as a case study of how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting vulnerable members of society, as tens of thousands have been thrown out of work with little social safety net to support them in one of the world’s most unequal and expensive cities.

The economy is mired in its deepest recession on record after a disastrous year of social unrest and then the virus outbreak, with a net 250,000 people losing work in the city since last May, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the Census and Statistics Department Hong Kong. The lower-paid services and hospitality sectors have been hit the hardest, as protests and virus-control measures shuttered retailers and left hotels and restaurants empty.