March 24 - 30, 2020


New measures to curb COVID-19

The Hong Kong SAR Government announced (Mar 27) new regulations to combat the spread of COVID-19. These measures, aimed at enforcing social distancing, include a ban on gatherings of more than four people in a public place, and the closure of all entertaining and amusement premises. There will be exemptions for the four-person limit regulation, which came into effect on March 29 for 14 days, such as in the workplace and at weddings. Under a second regulation, restaurants are required only to serve half their capacity of customers and venues such as cinemas, fitness centers, and amusement game centers will close for two weeks, beginning March 28. All country park barbecue sites and campsites managed by the government will also be closed from March 28 through April 11.

Speaking at the press conference, the Chief Executive also urged for cooperation from Hong Kong residents returning from overseas to undertake compulsory 14-day quarantine at home and to respect the monitoring measures put in place.

Hong Kong stays vigilant in virus fight

The Hong Kong SAR Government is committed to its duties and will stay vigilant in its fight against COVID-19, wrote Chief Executive Carrie Lam to stakeholders of the city’s international community (Mar 25). Reviewing the developments in the past two months, the Chief Executive appealed for continued support and cooperation of every Hong Kong citizen in this long and arduous battle against the virus. “I appeal to all members of the public to continue to fight the disease together. I have no doubt that as long as we stay united, work together and support each other, Hong Kong will finally win the battle against the disease,” Mrs Lam wrote. 

Free COVID-19 test for inbound travelers from the US 

The Centre for Health Protection has extended free testing for COVID-19 to asymptomatic inbound travelers arriving from the United States, beginning March 25 afternoon. With increasing demand for COVID-19 testing for inbound travelers from overseas, the Department of Health has set up a temporary specimen collection center at the AsiaWorld-Expo, beginning March 26, to speed up the collection of test specimen and to help ease difficulties for the submission of specimen. 

Quarantine regulation gazetted 

The quarantine regulation, extending the compulsory 14-day quarantine arrangements to all inbound travelers, including those arriving from or having stayed in Macao and Taiwan in the past 14 days prior to arrival to Hong Kong, was gazetted on March 24. The Compulsory Quarantine of Certain Persons Arriving at Hong Kong (Amendment) Regulation is effective from midnight of March 25 until midnight of May 7. It is a further measure to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 in the city. Along with the Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation that came into effect on March 19, the regulation stipulates that all inbound travelers would be subject to compulsory quarantine, unless exempted. 

Hong Kong people in Hubei returned safely

A total of 558 Hong Kong residents stranded in Hubei Province returned safely to Hong Kong via four chartered flights arranged by the Hong Kong SAR Government on March 25 and 26. All passengers on the chartered flights had completed health assessment by DH staff before and after arrival. They are required to undergo temperature checks and began 14 days of compulsory home quarantine.


New Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal appointed 

Andrew Cheung has been appointed (Mar 24) as Hong Kong’s next Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal. He will take up the position on January 11, 2021, succeeding Geoffrey Ma. Congratulating Mr Cheung on the impending appointment, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said he is a person of high integrity and commands strong respect both within the Judiciary and from the legal profession. The Chief Executive reiterated that the rule of law is the cornerstone of Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity. “An independent Judiciary plays a pivotal and indispensable role in upholding the rule of law and in ensuring the fair administration of justice; these are well recognized strengths of Hong Kong’s judicial system. Throughout the years, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has been rendering all necessary support to the Judiciary in sustaining effective judicial administration,” she said, adding that the Government will continue to provide the same support to Mr Cheung and members of the judiciary. 


Financial system functioning smoothly

Members of financial community were briefed on the work of the Hong Kong SAR Government and financial regulators in maintaining the city’s financial stability amidst the COVID-19 at the 11th meeting (Mar 30) of the Financial Leaders Forum, chaired by Financial Secretary Paul Chan. They noted that different aspects of the city’s financial system have been functioning smoothly so far amidst challenges in the global, regional and local environments. Members also learnt about the latest progress of the implementation of various initiatives to promote Hong Kong’s financial services in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, along with the Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing’s strategy and action plan for the internationalization of its businesses.


Webinar: Asian Economies under COVID-19

How has the COVID-19 outbreak impacted the Asian economies? What are the challenges and, more importantly, the opportunities, in particular in China and Hong Kong? Learn more at the upcoming free webinar organized by the Hong Kong Association of New York on April 8, from the perspectives of Bloomberg columnist Daniel Moss and Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York, Joanne Chu. During the session, Director of New York of Hong Kong Trade Development Council Anna Fan will give an update on the support provided for trade at this difficult time when supply chain is disrupted. To register, click here.


Postal services to US adjusted 

Due to substantial reduction in flight frequencies or even cancellation of flights, the time needed for handing in posted items to airlines is subject to considerable delays of more than two weeks, according to Hongkong Post (Mar 27). All airmail delivery services, including Speedpost, to the United States are subject to delays.



  • Hong Kong’s overall total exports (Mar 26) rose to US$30.5 billion, up 4.3% year-on-year. The value of imports of goods dipped 0.1% to US$35.5 billion for the same period. Taking the first two months of 2020 together, the value of total exports of goods decreased by 12% year-on-year, reflecting the serious disruptions to regional trading and production activities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The value of imports of goods fell 9.3%, with a visible trade deficit of US$8.8 billion recorded in the first two months of the year. 
  • Gross National Income fell 0.6% year-on-year to US$98.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, while Gross Domestic Product, estimated at US$95.4billion, fell 1.2% in the quarter. 


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: What does the Basic Law say about democratic development in Hong Kong?

A: The Basic Law sets out the blueprint for the democratic development of the HKSAR. The method for selecting the Chief Executive and forming the Legislative Council shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the HKSAR and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the election of the Chief Executive and all the members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage. (BL Articles 45; 68; Annexes I and II)

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Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York

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