Former finance chief Frederick Ma said on Saturday that the SAR could open its international border before opening up with the mainland, to preserve its status as an international financial hub.
Speaking on a radio programme, he said strict quarantine measures have been one of the reasons for a recent brain drain in the city.
Mr Ma said he understood that there might be “political considerations” for prioritising re-opening the mainland border, but that he believes the government could show flexibility on this as it was difficult to match the mainland's pursuit of a "dynamic zero" coronavirus policy.
“Being an international financial centre, I think we need to connect with the rest of the world," he said. "We have closed our border with the rest of the world for two years now. If we continue this policy for too long, I’m concerned that our position as an ‘IFC’ may be affected negatively.”
He added: “We have built our international financial centre for so long. And I think we need to preserve our position. And opening the border with other countries other than the mainland is very important.”
Mr Ma said he had heard comments from some government officials agreeing with this, and that he was “hopeful” the new administration would do something about it.