City types will have noticed there are more Hong Kong expats in town lately.
More often than not it’s because they fear coronavirus travel bans mean if they go home, they won’t be allowed to leave again.
Spare them a thought and a kind word; some haven’t seen their families for weeks.
One tells me his children have only had a fortnight of school in the past couple of months, what with Christmas, riots, Chinese New Year and now the flu epidemic.
He and eight other parents have clubbed together to hire a tutor and sent their kids to exile in Sydney until it all blows over.
It’s worse still for those who stay behind. One bank CEO tells me his Hong Kong staff are under orders to work from home if possible, and on no account meet other members of their teams.
The fear is, they’ll all catch the virus at the same time and knock out their line of business. Skype and Facetime make up for some of the sense of fear and isolation, but morale isn’t great.
What’s the upshot of it all for Hong Kong’s status as the key western hub in the region?
Put together with the growing rift with China, which makes Chinese nationals feel unwelcome and disrupts the daily lives of western expats, this latest blow to the troubled state adds to the pressure sending more businesses in the direction of Singapore and Shanghai.
Like Britain, Hong Kong has a long tradition of bouncing back from troubled times. But like us with Brexit, it feels like much of the future is at the hands of forces beyond its control.