July 21 - 27, 2020
Anti-epidemic measures further tightened
T he Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government has further tightened social distancing measures following the recent emergence of local COVID-19 cases. Starting from Jul 29, group gatherings in public places will be tightened to two unless exempted. People must wear a mask at all times in all public places. Restaurants must cease to provide dine-in services at all times. In addition, the testing and quarantine arrangement for sea crew members, air crew members and other exempted persons arriving in Hong Kong will also be tightened. Outlining the anti-epidemic measures at a press conference (Jul 27), Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung said given the continued deterioration of the epidemic situation, further tightening is necessary. The Centre for Health Protection called on employers to adopt work from home arrangements to prevent a community-wide COVID-19 outbreak.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam also called on the public to heighten their vigilance and act together to suppress the epidemic as soon as possible. Mrs Lam said the Government, in tandem with the tougher measures, is also enhancing testing capacity through public-private collaboration, responding flexibly and increasing anti-epidemic facilities, along with planning and devising further management and control measures. Recognizing the contribution by the entire Hong Kong community in fighting the outbreak over the past six months, Mrs Lam appealed to the community to continue to stand united and work together to overcome this difficult times and move forward again.
New entry requirements for arriving US travelers
Starting Jul 29, travelers from the US arriving in Hong Kong will be required to present health certificates before boarding their flights showing that they are free of COVID-19. They would also be required to present proof that they have booked a hotel for at least two weeks and will be quarantined at the hotels upon arrival. The US has been added to a list of “high-risk” nations where the pandemic is especially severe. 
Hong Kong participates in APEC virtual meeting
Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau took part in the first-ever Virtual Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2020 (Jul 25) to discuss APEC’s response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr Yau called on the APEC economies to act in unity and in a manner consistent with World Trade Organization (WTO) rights and obligations. He also spoke on Hong Kong’s strategy in combating the epidemic. He urged all economies to keep their boundaries open to ensure the smooth functioning of the supply chain and refrain from erecting trade barriers or resorting to irrationality in trade policies. As a founding member of the WTO and a separate customs territory, Hong Kong remains committed to a free market policy and supporting progressive trade liberalization. 
“Business as usual” for financial institutions
It should be “business as usual” for Hong Kong’s financial institutions, said Chief Executive of Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) Eddie Yue, adding that the national security law will not affect the city’s long-established supervisory policies and regulatory guidance, which are aligned with international standards. “The same rules and regulations administered by the HKMA before the introduction of the national security law will continue to apply in the same way,” he said. These include the sharing of market information and publication of research reports, along with trading, hedging or short selling of any financial asset or currency in the spot or derivatives market in accordance with relevant regulatory rules . Mr Yue said Hong Kong has seen net inflows of close to US$14 billion since April and the city continued to thrive as the dominant gateway to the Mainland.
Virtual event: Why Hong Kong?
Director of HKETONY Joanne Chu said despite the current challenges, Hong Kong remains the ideal gateway to Asia, including ASEAN and mainland Chinese markets, citing the various Free Trade Agreements Hong Kong has signed with regional partners. Speaking at the virtual event “Why Hong Kong” (Jul 22), organized by The Tennessee China Network and supported by The Hong Kong Business Association of the Midwest (HKBAM) and the Hong Kong Association of Atlanta, Ms Chu added that Hong Kong’s value proposition remains intact, including its common law system, simple and low tax system and a freely convertible Hong Kong dollar. Also speaking at the event, Director of Hong Kong Trade Development Council Midwest Winchell Cheung highlighted Hong Kong’s advantages as one of the freest economies in the world and its reputation for economic openness, an offshore RMB center and ease of doing business. Mark Staublin, Senior Vice President of Garrett Brands of Chicago and President of the HKBAM, spoke on how Hong Kong played a role in the expansion of Garrett in Hong Kong and Asia.
Ann Hui to receive lifetime achievement award
Renowned Hong Kong director Ann Hui will receive the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement award at this year’s Venice Film Festival. She is the first Chinese female film director to be bestowed this honor. Congratulating Ms Hui, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said, “Ann Hui is a pioneer of Hong Kong and Asian cinemas of our time. The award is in recognition of her exceptional contribution to the film industry. We take pride in her achievement in successfully showcasing to international audiences the top-notch, exquisite and sensational Hong Kong film productions through her unique film language and visual style.”
  • Hong Kong’s Exchange Fund recorded an investment loss of US$1.3 billion in the first half of the year. Total assets of the fund fell US$1.4 billion to US$537.8 billion.
  • Overall consumer prices in June rose 0.7% year-on-year, less than the corresponding increase of 1.5% in May. Year-on-year price increases were recorded in June for food and meals, miscellaneous goods, meals bought away from home, housing, miscellaneous services as well as alcoholic drinks and tobacco.
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: What is the role of the People's Liberation Army in Hong Kong under the Basic Law?
A: The maintenance of public order in the HKSAR is the responsibility of the HKSAR Government. The People’s Liberation Army stationed in the HKSAR is responsible for the defense of the HKSAR and does not interfere in the local affairs of the HKSAR. In addition to abiding by national laws, members of the garrison shall abide by the laws of the HKSAR. Expenditure for maintaining these military forces is borne by the CPG. ( BL Article 14 )
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