January 28 - February 3, 2020


Enhanced health measures announced

The Hong Kong SAR Government has implemented enhanced disease prevention and control measures, in line with recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO), to tackle the novel coronavirus outbreak. These measures include enhanced exit screening and health declaration for passengers, extension of suspension of school classes, full support for front-line healthcare staff, increased supply of surgical masks, and preparation for more quarantine center facilities.

The Government is also implementing further restrictions on the movement of people between Hong Kong, Macao and the Mainland to help prevent the spread of novel coronavirus in the community. Starting Feb 4, only two land boundary control points (Shenzhen Bay and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge) will handle passengers. Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau and Macao Ferry Terminal control points will close. Both the Hong Kong International Airport and Kai Tak Cruise Terminal will operate as normal.

The Government is also providing assistance to Hong Kong residents currently in Hubei. It urged Hong Kong residents returning from the Mainland to take precautions to reduce the risk of spreading the disease in the community. Recognizing the dedicated efforts of healthcare workers in handling the novel coronavirus infection, the Government is taking the needs of healthcare workers as prime consideration. At this critical moment in disease prevention and control, the Government appeals to those healthcare workers planning to go on strike to reconsider their decision, continue to safeguard Hong Kong with their professionalism and together win the battle against the disease.


Technology Talent Admission Scheme expanded

Enhanced measures to the Technology Talent Admission Scheme (TechTAS) were announced (Jan 30), allowing more eligible companies to apply. When it was inaugurated, TechTAS covered tenants and incubatees of the Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks and Hong Kong Cyberport, which conducted R&D activities in seven technology areas (artificial intelligence, biotechnology, cybersecurity, data analytics, financial technologies, material science and robotics). With the new enhancements, TechTAS covers six more technology areas (5G communications, digital entertainment, green technology, integrated circuit design, the Internet of Things and microelectronics). The enhancements will expedite the admission of technology talent from around the world to undertake R&D work in the city.


Hong Kong's institutional strengths upheld

Hong Kong’s institutional strengths and core values, most notably the rule of law, continue to be upheld in the city, said Hong Kong Commissioner to the United States, Eddie Mak, in New York (Jan 30). Speaking at a Chinese New Year reception, Mr Mak stressed that Hong Kong’s judiciary continued to administer justice without fear or favor. Addressing the challenges faced by Hong Kong, including the current global health crisis, Mr Mak said that Hong Kong had persevered through adversity before, adding that time would once again testify to the resilience of the city. About 300 guests from the academic, business, cultural and political sectors attended the reception.



  • Hong Kong’s GDP decreased by 2.9% in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2019 from a year earlier, compared with the decrease of 2.8% in the third quarter of 2019, according to advance estimates. The decline of GDP was mainly attributable to the weak performance in both domestic and external demand. For 2019 as a whole, GDP decreased by 1.2% in real terms from 2018.
  • December’s total exports of goods grew by 3.3% year-on-year to reach US$45 billion. The value of imports of goods decreased by 1.9% to US$49.2 billion. A visible trade deficit of US$416 million, equivalent to 8.5% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded for the month. For 2019 as a whole, the value of total exports of goods dropped by 4.1% over 2018 while the value of imports of goods decreased by 6.5%. A visible trade deficit of US$54.7 billion, equivalent to 9.7% of the value of imports of goods, was recorded in 2019.
  • The total assets of the Exchange Fund amounted to US$546 billion as at December 31. This is US$14.8 billion higher than that at the end of November 2019. Hong Kong dollar assets increased by US$13.8 billion and foreign currency assets increased by US$1.0 billion.


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: Do Hong Kong people enjoy a wide range of personal freedoms?

A: Chapter III of the Basic Law guarantees a wide range of rights and freedoms to be enjoyed by Hong Kong people. The provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and international labor conventions as applied to Hong Kong continue to remain in force. (BL Articles 27-39) The extensive rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people are borne out by, for instance, the fact that Hong Kong residents participate freely in processions and assemblies; newspapers regularly comment on or criticize government decisions and policies, and people express freely their opinion in Hong Kong's open society.

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