February 11 - 17, 2020


Chartered flights arranged for cruise passengers

Hong Kong SAR Government has arranged two chartered flights to bring home Hong Kong residents quarantined for the novel coronavirus onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. Secretary for Security John Lee said (Feb 17) the two flights will leave Japan on Feb 19 and arrive in Hong Kong the following day. Hong Kong residents can board the flights once Japanese authorities clear their blood tests. They will be placed under quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Hong Kong.

Each chartered flight has more than 400 seats which are enough to cater for the some 350 Hong Kong people on the cruise, including 260 Hong Kong permanent residents, and 90 foreign passport holders. Hong Kong residents are urged to accept a seat on the flights as they could encounter difficulties if they tried to return home by themselves.

US$3.2 billion fund to fight viral outbreak

The Hong Kong SAR Government will set up a US$3.2 billion fund to help local residents and businesses tide over the coronavirus situation. Stressing that Hong Kong was facing an almost unprecedented situation that was still evolving, the Chief Executive said (Feb 14) the Government has taken some bold and decisive steps to help different sectors and to ensure that all the infection control measures that have been put in place were undertaken. She vowed that the Government would continue to work very hard based on its good public health experience, the expertise of its advisory panel, the dedication of colleagues, as well as the amount of resources it was prepared to put into the fight against the disease.

The Government enhanced surveillance (Feb 12) of people under the compulsory quarantine. Authorities will continue to make surprise phone calls and video calls and request real-time locations to the persons under quarantine. If those under quarantine fail to share their real-time locations via their mobile devices, they will be immediately requested to wear electronic wristbands so that they can be monitored. The Government is also strengthening manpower in this joint effort to combat the novel coronavirus.


Strong confidence in market

Chief Executive of Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) Eddie Yue said the HKMA has activated its internal contingency plan to ensure the effective and continued discharge of its critical functions under the exceptional circumstances of the novel coronavirus outbreak. Mr Yue said Hong Kong, with its vast foreign exchange reserves, highly capitalized banking system, abundant liquidity and good asset quality, is fully capable of rising up to challenges, including the current outbreak. “Despite some volatility in the stock market, it has been business as usual in financial market activities and financial infrastructures. This is clear evidence of the robustness of our monetary and financial systems and the strong confidence of the market in Hong Kong,” he said.


Surgical mask parcels accorded priority

Hongkong Post has accorded top priority to Speedpost items containing surgical masks on the principle of “surgical masks first”, with over 40,000 boxes of surgical masks items delivered in the past week (Feb 10-15). Noting the urgency, Hongkong Post has made special arrangements by re-deploying manpower from other divisions to speed up the processing of Speedpost boxes, along with Sunday deliveries and full resumption of daily mail delivery service so that parcels containing surgical masks can reach the hands of the recipients as soon as possible. Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung expressed his warm appreciation (Feb 17) to Hongkong Post for addressing the community’s pressing needs during this emergency period.

Postal services from the United States normal

Hongkong Post announced (Feb 12) that, as advised by the United States Postal Service (USPS), postal services originating from the United States to Hong Kong remain normal, while priority mail express international service (i.e. Speedpost) items for Hong Kong may be subject to delay due to widespread flight cancellations. In addition, mail transiting the USPS from other regions to Hong Kong have been suspended.


Hong Kong’s advantages

Director of HKETONY Joanne Chu spoke on the latest developments in Hong Kong, including the measures implemented to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak, during a panel discussion organized by the World Trade Center Delaware. She also highlighted the various business opportunities in innovation & technology, agricultural, and financial services sectors in Hong Kong and the Guangdong - Hong Kong - Macao Greater Bay Area. Representatives from the US Commercial Service and the US-China Business Council also spoke at the event.

Open and diverse global hub

About 50 business executives in the New York area learned more about Hong Kong’s value proposition as an international financial center and gateway to the Asia Pacific market during a luncheon presentation (Feb 11). Director of HKETONY Joanne Chu highlighted Hong Kong’s open and free society, its diverse and cosmopolitan culture, and a dynamic business hub, underpinned by the rule of law and independent judiciary.

Cityscape artist presents works in New York

Hong Kong watercolor artist Elaine Chiu introduced her vivid artwork, depicting Hong Kong’s vibrant cityscape to New York audience for the first time (Feb 12) at the HKETONY. She specializes in capturing the energy and colours of Hong Kong’s iconic neighborhoods in her paintings. A fine arts graduate from the University of Hong Kong, Chiu shared her passion and discussed her artistic journey with New York audience.


Hong Kong and its Basic Law

The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Put into effect on July 1, 1997, it enshrines within a legal document the important concept of “One Country, Two Systems".

Q: Is Hong Kong a free port and a separate customs territory?

A: The HKSAR is a separate customs territory. The HKSAR, using the name “Hong Kong, China”, is a member in its own right of the World Trade Organisation and the World Customs Organisation. Ships of all nations enjoy access to the ports of the HKSAR, which is a free port, in accordance with the laws of the Region. Export quotas, tariff preferences and other similar arrangements, which are obtained or made by the HKSAR or which were obtained or made and remain valid, shall be enjoyed exclusively by Hong Kong. (BL Articles 114; 116; 126)

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Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York

115 East 54 Street 10022 New York US