August 18 - 24, 2020
Citywide COVID-19 screening to start in September
The citywide voluntary COVID-19 screening program will launch on Sep 1, as part of the effort to identify as early as possible asymptomatic COVID-19 patients in the community and to cut the community transmission chain through early identification, isolation and treatment. Scheduled to run for up to 14 days, the program is open to all holders of valid Hong Kong identity cards or birth certificates, except for children under 6 and people not suitable for the test. Those who are asymptomatic can participate in the program on a voluntary basis. Members of the public can make an appointment online.
Public services to resume in a safe and orderly manner
Taking into account the need to fight the virus for the whole community, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government has implemented special work arrangements for its employees in the past month. As only emergency and essential public services were provided, the provision of many public services has been reduced to various extents. In view of the latest development of the epidemic situation, that government departments will gradually resume the provision of basic public services from Aug 24 to meet the needs of the public and enterprises. The ultimate goal is to resume full public services when conditions permit.
Government to raise US sanctions with WTO
The HKSAR Government strongly reprimands (Aug 20) the US administration's unilateral decision to suspend or terminate three bilateral agreements with Hong Kong, stressing that these agreements are not US' preferential treatment for the city. “They are bilateral agreements negotiated in good faith to benefit the peoples and businesses of both sides in areas of law and order, shipping and tax treatment,” a HKSAR Government spokesman said.

Earlier (Aug 18), Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that the HKSAR Government will address sanctions imposed by the US with the World Trade Organization. “Hong Kong is a separate member of the World Trade Organization. To be mistreated by another member of the World Trade Organization breaches the rules and regulations of this international body. So we will take up with the World Trade Organization against those sanctions,” Mrs Lam said. 
Cyber security partnership set
The collaborative platform Partnership Programme for Cyber Security Information Sharing will be formalized from Sep 1 onward to enhance Hong Kong’s overall defensive capability and resilience against cyberattacks. The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer will partner with the Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation to administer the collaborative platform and encourage more public and private organizations to take part in the cross-sector sharing of cyber security information.
First video conference session of EMEAP held
Chaired by the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), Eddie Yue, the 25th Executives' Meeting of East Asia-Pacific Central Banks (EMEAP) held its first video conference session on Aug 19. Governors of EMEAP member central banks exchanged views on recent developments in the regional economy and financial systems amid the COVID-19 pandemic and reviewed its work in the past year. Members noted that the various policy responses by central banks in the region and globally have helped alleviate the economic fallout and financial market stresses stemming from the pandemic. There were also exchanges on how policy responses could be calibrated going forward. The HKMA is re-appointed as the chair of the Working Group on Financial Markets of the EMEAP for a two-year term from 2020 to 2022.
Hong Kong films go virtual
Ticket sales for Hong Kong films screening at this year’s virtual New York Asian Film Festival (Aug 28 – Sep 12) starts today (Aug 24) via the Smart Cinema USA app. Among the eight films featured in the Hong Kong Panorama film series is “My Prince Edward”, a winner of the government-funded First Feature Film Initiative. Other selected films are the world premiere of “Hell Bank Presents: Running Ghost”; the North American premieres of “Memories to Choke On, Drinks to Wash Them Down”, “The Grand Grandmaster”, “Unleashed”; the US premiere of “Legally Declared Dead”; the New York premieres of “A Witness Out of the Blue” along with “Chasing Dream”, the latest work by acclaimed director Johnnie To.
Call for arts activators fellowship applications
The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York is partnering with the Yale-China Association to bring two emerging arts curators and managers from Hong Kong to Yale University in 2021 under a six-month arts activators fellowship program. The arts activators will have the opportunity to engage and collaborate with the community of Yale University and New Haven. They will also be able to share their projects at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in June 2021 at the end of their Fellowship. The deadline for application is Sept 7. More information on the application process can be found here.
  • Overall consumer prices in July fell 2.3% year-on-year, after a 0.7% rise in June. The drop was mainly due to the government’s public housing rental payment and Housing Society's rent waiver for estate tenants.
  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 6.2% in April - June 2020 to 6.1% in May - July 2020. The underemployment rate also decreased from 3.7% to 3.5% during the same period.
Basic Law video series rolled out
The Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Bureau rolled out (Aug 22) a video series on the 30th anniversary of the promulgation of the Basic Law. The video series reviews the guidelines of “one country, two systems”, the origin of the Basic Law and analyzes how it enables the HKSAR to preserve its strengths and maintain its prosperity and stability. The videos are available on the bureau’s webpage, the thematic webpage of the 30th anniversary of the promulgation of the Basic Law, and the bureau’s Facebook page. The Basic Law is the constitutional document of the HKSAR and was adopted by the National People's Congress and promulgated on April 4, 1990. It came into effect on July 1, 1997, when the HKSAR was established.
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