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Expat Investor : May June 2008
Hong Kong was a crown colony of the United Kingdom up until 1997, when its sovereignty was handed to the People’s Republic of China. Once a trading port, over the years it has developed into one of the world’s leading financial centres. It is situated on the southeast coast of the Chinese mainland and covers 662 square miles. Due to the country’s situation, residents of Hong Kong enjoy a tropical climate. The winter months of January and February can be cold and temperatures may drop below 10 degrees Centigrade and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The typhoon season normally runs from April to October. However, there is no need for panic because locals are well prepared for typhoon arrivals and a series of typhoon intensity- level signals are used to warn civilians of the upcoming dangers. Radio and TV stations broadcast regular updates. November and December are the most pleasant months of the year with the skies clear and ample sunshine. With a population of six and a half million (according to Living Abroad) and a relatively small land mass, it is not surprising, then, that air pollution is a problem in Hong Kong. Whilst some of this pollution is said to be blown in from China, especially in the winter months due to wind directions, most of it is generated by vehicle emissions. This is causing pressure by green groups on the government to tackle the problem. It is also worth noting that pollution can have a negative effect on people suffering from respiratory problems such as asthma. It may also lower people’s resistance and therefore boost the number of colds being passed around. The pollution is not limited to inland areas, it is also a serious issue within the region’s oceans and local beaches are below World Health Organisation (WHO) standards. Local newspapers contain ratings and it would be advisable to check that any beach you plan to visit has clean sea water. Even though the seawater is often polluted, Hong Kong’s tap water quality is up to international standards. However, there is a possibility of bacteria growing in old pipe systems, so it might be worth purchasing bottled water or filtering and boiling the tap water to help protect you from infections. It is, however, worth considering that, even though pollution is a problem, the life expectancy of Hong Kong’s HEALTHCARE May/June 2008 ? EXPAT INVESTOR 17 fact that the health standards in the region are higher than most other Asian cities. It is also worth noting that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office states: “The UK and Hong Kong Reciprocal Health Care Arrangement terminated on 30 June 1997.” Therefore UK expatriates are required to fund their own medical treatment whilst in Hong Kong. However, state hospitals offer inexpensive basic care to all holders of an HK ID card. You will be expected to pay on average HK$68 for in-patient fees and HK$37 for out-patient fees at these hospitals, although you will need to be prepared for long delays and crowded waiting rooms. Taking this into account, private healthcare is available in Hong Kong which should help to you to avoid such delays. residents is quite high. Living Abroad estimates that women live, on average, for 81 years and men for 75 years. This could be due to the Fast Facts 55013 Authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. © AXA PPP healthcare 2007 Lines are open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturday (UK time). Calls may be recorded. All claims will be assessed against the terms and conditions of the chosen product and any individual exclusions placed on your policy at joining. For great British healthcare – worldwide – join us now and we’ll give you up to two months' cover free Call +44(0)1892 550814 quoting reference EI5555 or visit www.axappphealthcare.co.uk/expat_investor When you’re living, working, travelling or retired away from home you deserve quality healthcare insurance from a well grounded company that really knows their way around the world of healthcare cover! AXA PPP healthcare has an International Health Plan to suit most needs. Join us and you can rely on quick, easy access to private medical treatment; a choice of hospitals; emergency evacuation or repatriation; plus an English-speaking health information line that’s on call for you around-the-clock. Wherever you have a family get together AXA PPP healthcare is right there with you Health issues in Hong Kong A country profile from AXA PPP Healthcare. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office also states, “We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.” Another consideration is the availability of pharmaceutical medicines. There are plenty of general chemists available for expatriates to purchase pharmaceutical products. These chemists are inexpensive and will sell tablets in small quantities, so that you do not have to buy the entire packet. A key factor to consider before you travel to Hong Kong is the vaccination requirements and www.netdoctor.co.uk Continued on page 18
July August 2008