The divide between Asia’s two main financial hubs in handling the pandemic is growing ever wider, with one opening up to global travel and the other maintaining one of the world’s harshest quarantine policies.

In Singapore, officials are taking steps to reconnect with the global economy even as the government faces pressure to favor locals over foreigners for well-paying jobs. Speaking in a televised address over the weekend, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore can’t stay "locked down and closed off indefinitely” and that residents should prepare to see "many COVID-19 cases for some time to come.”

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has taken the opposite approach, stressing in a Bloomberg Television interview Monday that even a single death would be a "major concern” as she follows China’s COVID Zero approach that tolerates no local infections. While expressing concern about the city’s reputation, Lam said she was "duty bound to protect my people” and that businesses, in any case, see Hong Kong as a gateway to the mainland.