April 28 - May 4, 2020
Hong Kong getting back to business
Many public services in Hong Kong has started to resume from May 4, as the epidemic situation has stabilized with only zero or single digit COVID-19 cases reported since April 12. Under the first phase of resumption of public services, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government will adopt appropriate measures at public facilities to avoid group gatherings that are in breach of the statutory prohibition against gatherings of more than four persons and to reduce crowds. Separately, Hong Kong enterprises with manufacturing operations in the Mainland can apply for exemption from the compulsory quarantine arrangement.

As at May 4, Hong Kong recorded zero local confirmed COVID-19 cases for 15 days in a row, with the total number of confirmed cases at 1,040. The last time Hong Kong confirmed local transmission was on April 19. The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said that the coronavirus has an incubation period of up to 14 days and that the CHP will consider that local transmissions have stopped after two incubation periods. The CHP continues to urge the public to maintain proper social distancing with other people and avoid social activities to reduce the risk of a community outbreak.
Chartered flight for Hong Kong residents in Pakistan
A total of 319 Hong Kong residents who were stranded in Pakistan have already returned (Apr 30) to the city via a chartered flight arranged by the HKSAR Government. After their deep throat saliva samples were collected, the returnees were transferred to a government quarantine centre for a 14-day compulsory quarantine period. The Government will continue to liaise with the Hong Kong residents still in Pakistan and adopt a phased approach in assisting in their return in batches subject to the circumstances.
Rights and freedoms safeguarded
In a statement, the HKSAR Government reiterated Hong Kong people enjoy extensive rights and freedoms which are enshrined in the Basic Law. In addition, human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong are fully protected by the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other legislation, and underpinned by an independent judiciary. The HKSAR Government said it always respects and protects human rights and freedoms. Any allegation that there has been an erosion in freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong people is unfounded. However, these rights are not absolute. As pointed out by the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal at the Ceremonial Opening of the Legal Year 2020: "It is important to understand that the enjoyment of these rights has limits so as not to affect adversely to an unacceptable level the enjoyment by other members of their community of their rights and liberties."
First quarter economy dips 8.9%
Hong Kong’s economy in the first quarter of 2020 contracted 8.9% year-on-year, according to the advance estimates on GDP (May 4). The decline of GDP was mainly attributable to the continued weak performance in both domestic and external demand, as affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial Secretary Paul Chan noted the economic recession deepened in Hong Kong in the first quarter of 2020. Although the local epidemic situation seems to be under control, external environment remains very challenging . “Globally, the epidemic is yet to be put under complete control. That will affect our exports. That will also affect international travelling and business investments,” he said. “So, going forward in the second quarter, we believe that even if there is improvement, the improvement will be gradual and small.”
  • The HKSAR Government recorded a deficit of US$1.3 billion for the 2019-2020 financial year. Expenditure for the year ended March 31 was at US$77.9 billion and revenue at US$75.7 billion. Fiscal reserves stood at US$148.7 billion.

  • Total assets of Hong Kong’s Exchange Fund amounted to US$524.9 billion as at March 31. This is US$10.6 billion lower than at the end of February 2020. Foreign currency assets fell by US$14.6 billion while Hong Kong dollar assets grew by US$4 billion. The monetary base was US$215.3 billion.
Hong Kong and its Basic Law
The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the HKSAR. Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems". 

Q: Have the laws previously in force in Hong Kong been maintained?
A: The Basic Law provides that laws previously in force in Hong Kong, that is, the common law, rules of equity, ordinances, subordinate legislation and customary law, shall be maintained and adopted as laws of the HKSAR, except for any that contravenes the Basic Law, and subject to any amendment by the HKSAR legislature. ( BL Articles 8; 18; 160 )

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