December 22 - 29, 2020
Hong Kong determined to beat COVID-19
Enhanced measures strictly implemented by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, following the new wave of COVID-19 epidemic that began in late November, have gradually yielded results in the fight against the virus, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Noting that “anti-epidemic fatigue” is probably one of the reasons why the virus remains, Mrs Lam strongly urged Hong Kong citizens to stay at home to fight the COVID-19 epidemic, pointing out that the act in itself supports the frontline anti-epidemic personnel.

With the first batch of vaccines expected to arrive in Hong Kong as soon as January, the Government has started preparatory work for the large scale vaccination program. To date, the Government has procured enough COVID-19 vaccines to cover Hong Kong’s population after reaching a purchase agreement with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which jointly developed the vaccine with Oxford University. This is in addition to two previous agreements reached separately with Mainland-based Sinovac Biotech and German firm BioNTech, bringing the total number of doses to 22.5 million. The Government has also gazetted the Prevention & Control of Disease (Use of Vaccines) Regulation (Cap 599K), which provides the legal framework under the present state of public health emergency to bring in COVID-19 vaccines which satisfy the criteria of safety, efficacy and quality for emergency use. 
Measures for travelers tightened
Starting Dec 25, the HKSAR Government has tightened the compulsory quarantine requirements for people arriving in Hong Kong from overseas. They would need to undergo compulsory quarantine for 21 days in designated quarantine hotels. During the quarantine period, they will be provided with a testing kit for the collection of specimen on the 12th day of the quarantine period for COVID-19 testing. The testing will be done again on the 19th or 20th day following the arrival in Hong Kong. Only persons whose results are all negative are allowed to leave the hotel after completing the 21-day quarantine. Separately, people who have stayed in South Africa for more than two hours in the past 21 days will not be allowed to board flights for Hong Kong. The HKSAR Government had earlier (Dec 22) banned flights from the UK in response to the new strain of COVID-19 found in the country. 
Legal pact signed
Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng signed (Dec 22) a memorandum of understanding with Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) Secretary General Christophe Bernasconi relating to the secondment of legal professionals. Ms Cheng said that it is the Department of Justice’s policy initiative to nurture legal talents through continuous provision of training opportunities including secondment arrangements with international organizations. The virtual signing ceremony was held at the former French Mission Building, an important part of the Hong Kong Legal Hub where the HCCH’s Regional Office for Asia & the Pacific in the Hong Kong SAR has recently been relocated.
I&T fund adds new partners
The Innovation & Technology Commission announced (Dec 28) that the Innovation & Technology Venture Fund (ITVF) has added three venture capital funds as co-investment partners (CPs), namely Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund, Isola Capital and Lingfeng Capital. To date, the HKSAR Government has co-invested with the CPs through the ITVF in 19 local innovation and technology start-ups. Its investment has totaled around US$12.8 million, attracting over US$64.1 million of private investment. The business areas of these I&T start-ups include supply chain management, e-commerce, financial technology, biotechnology and artificial intelligence.
“iAM Smart” mobile app launched
The HKSAR Government launched a one-stop personalized digital services platform “iAM Smart”, allowing the public to login and use online services with a single digital identity with their personal mobile phone. Available for free download starting Dec 30, the mobile app will enable citizens to access more than 20 online government services and public utilities such as the two electricity and gas companies once they register for the platform. New features including an electronic COVID-19 testing and vaccination record will be added to the app next month. The number of public services accessible through the platform will increase to more than 110 by mid-2021. 
Weather apps win awards
The mobile application “MyObservatory” developed by the Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) won in the “Public weather forecasts and information - information content” category and earned an honorable mention in the “Specialized apps award - weather warnings” category at the World Meteorological Organization International Weather Apps Awards 2020 (WIWAA), organized for the first time in this year to recognize well-designed mobile applications for providing reliable weather and climate information. The competition received more than 110 entries from all over the world.
Students win medals in Olympiad
A team of eight Hong Kong students has won two gold and five silver medals, one bronze medal as well as a gold award in the team competition at the 5th International Olympiad of Metropolises (IOM), an international competition covering informatics, mathematics, physics and chemistry. Congratulating the team for their outstanding performance, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said the remarkable results demonstrated Hong Kong’s students great potential in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. A total of about 230 contestants from 31 countries or cities took part in this year’s IOM was held from Dec 16 to 22.
  • In November, the values of Hong Kong’s total exports and imports of goods both recorded year-on-year increases, at 5.6% and 5.1% respectively. The value of total exports of goods reached US$48.6 billion while the value of imports of goods was US$51.9 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: Does the HKSAR Government have complete control over fiscal and economic policies and safeguard the free movement of goods, assets and capital?
A: The HKSAR Government formulates its own economic policies; manages its finances independently; prepares its own budgets; issues its own freely convertible currency; practices an independent taxation system; keeps its low and simple tax regime; formulates its own monetary and financial policies; safeguards the free flow of capital; maintains the status of a free port; pursues a policy of free trade and protects the free movement of goods, intangible assets and capital. (BL Articles 62; 106-119)
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