August 25 - 31, 2020
Hong Kong – ASEAN video conference held
Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau chaired the 4th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Ministers - Hong Kong, China Consultations via video conference (Aug 28) to exchange views with economic ministers from the 10 ASEAN member states on a response to the pandemic’s economic impact as well as possible areas for cooperation and collaboration. During the meeting, Mr Yau called for greater regional cooperation and collaborations in mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact and supporting post-pandemic recovery efforts. He also stressed the importance of keeping boundaries open and refraining from unjustified trade barriers or irrationality in trade policies.
Over a half-million people registered for universal testing
To cut the transmission chain of COVID-19 in the local community, 141 community testing centers have been set up in all districts across Hong Kong to provide a one-off free testing service for the public starting Sep 1. The Universal Community Testing Program (UCTP) aims at identifying as early as possible asymptomatic COVID-19 patients in the community and achieving the target of early identification, early isolation and early treatment, thereby enabling the resumption of normal social lives and economic activities long awaited by the public as soon as possible.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam urged the public to participate in the UCTP as part of the effort to combat and curb the spread of COVID-19 in Hong Kong. “I urge the public to actively sign up for and participate in the UCTP for the sake of themselves, others, and Hong Kong,” she said. Members of the public can make online appointments at a dedicated website. As at Aug 31, more than half a million people have already registered for the testing program.
Schools to resume classes in phases
Hong Kong schools will resume face-to-face lessons on a half-day basis in two phases beginning Sep 23. Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said on Aug 31 the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government has taken into account a variety of factors in making the arrangements. “The Education Bureau has been monitoring the development of the epidemic, seeking health experts' advice, and maintaining close liaison with the school sector. The epidemic has recently shown signs of subsiding, and now we have the basis to allow schools time to prepare for the resumption of face-to-face classes in the second half of September.” he said. However, Mr Yeung reminded everyone should stay vigilant, and schools must continue to observe all health precautionary measures.
Anti-epidemic measures eased
Hong Kong relaxed several social distancing measures on Aug 28, with the resumption of evening restaurant dining until 9pm, the reopening of cinemas, beauty parlors and some sports venues. The mask requirement for outdoor exercise and in country parks was also rescinded. Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan said the epidemic situation has still not completely stabilized. “However, under the new normal, it is almost not possible for us to wait until there are no more local cases before relaxing the social distancing measures,” said Prof Chan, who reminded the public not to let their guard down during the fight against COVID-19 and maintain good personal and environmental hygiene.
Resumption of Hong Kong – US speed post service
Hongkong Post announced the resumption of speedpost, e-Express and surface mail postal services from Hong Kong to the US starting Sep 1 as airlines have gradually scaled up their air traffic capacity and some postal administrations abroad have resumed acceptance of overseas mail. Notwithstanding this, local postal operations are still under the influence of the pandemic and delays in mail delivery are expected.
Special tribute screening of Benny Chan’s “Call for Heroes”
Paying tribute to acclaimed Hong Kong producer/director Benny Chan, who passed away on Aug 23, New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) will feature Chan’s magnum opus “Call for Heroes” as part of a special screening. This epic period piece boasts a who’s who of Hong Kong action cinema, with choreography by Sammo Hung and stars Sean Lau, Louis Koo, Eddie Peng and Wu Jing. Previous editions of NYAFF have featured some of Chan’s blockbusters including: “Big Bullet”, “Shaolin” and “The White Storm”.
  • Hong Kong recorded a US$23.5 billion deficit for the four months ending Jul 31 as some major types of revenue are mostly received at the end of a financial year. It was also due to payments for the Cash Payout Scheme and various measures under the Anti-epidemic fund. Fiscal reserves stood at US$125.2 billion at the end of July.
  • Total assets of the Exchange Fund amounted to US$532.8 billion as at Jul 31. This is US$5 billion lower than that at the end of June. Hong Kong dollar assets decreased by US$8.9 billion while foreign currency assets increased by US$3.9 billion. The monetary base grew 3% to US$230.9 billion while the backing assets rose 2.8% to US$257.3 billion.
  • The value of Hong Kong’s total exports decreased to US$42.1 billion in July, down 3% year-on-year. The value of imports of goods dropped 3.4% to US$45.9 billion in the same comparison period. A US$3.8 billion trade deficit was recorded for the period.
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: Does the HKSAR enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial powers?
A: Yes. The National People’s Congress authorizes the HKSAR to exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial powers, including that of final adjudication. The Chief Executive heads the HKSAR and the Government of the HKSAR. The Executive Council, consisting of members appointed by the Chief Executive, assists the Chief Executive in policy making. The legislature, which is constituted by election, enacts legislation, while the judiciary exercises judicial power independently free from interference. (BL Articles 2; 16; 17; 19; 43; 54; 55; 66; 68; 73; 85)
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