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Hong Kong loses its "shine"/ Records biggest population decline, experts say
Hong Kong has recorded its largest annual population decline. Experts say the strict measures against Covid dealt a blow to the "world city of Asia".
The city's total population fell from 7.41 million people to 7.29 million, a drop of 1.6%, the Department of Census and Statistics said.
This is the biggest drop since the government started tracking the figures in 1961.
Although authorities attributed some of this to a "natural" decline, experts said the numbers also reflected an exodus that has accelerated in recent years amid periods of mass social unrest that have included anti-government protests and the coronavirus pandemic.
About 113,200 residents left Hong Kong last year, the department said, compared with 89,200 a year earlier. Figures include immigrants and other non-permanent residents.
Throughout the pandemic, experts and industry leaders have warned that strict Covid-19 restrictions would drive away residents, travelers and immigrants.
Even as the rest of the world opened up, for months Hong Kong continued to close borders, suspend air routes and impose mandatory quarantines and social distancing measures, such as restrictions on public gatherings and restrictions on restaurant services.