May 12 - 18, 2020
Government to observe virus trend
Hong Kong has recorded three locally transmitted cases in the past week after 23 consecutive days of handling only imported cases. Along with five new imported cases, the total number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong stands at 1,055, with four deaths so far. Urging the public to remain vigilant, Under Secretary for Food and Health Dr Chui Tak-yi (May 13) said the battle to curb the COVID-19 outbreak is a long-term battle and that sporadic new local cases are unavoidable, citing the resurgence of infections in South Korea and Mainland China. He added that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government will closely observe the trend of the COVID-19 epidemic before deciding on whether to adjust social distancing measures. In addition, Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection has extended its Enhanced Laboratory Surveillance Programme to provide Hong Kong International Airport staff members with free testing service for COVID-19.

Separately, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food and Health Prof Sophia Chan attended the 73rd World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) via video conferencing on May 18, as a member of the Chinese delegation. She said the HKSAR Government has maintained close co-operation with the WHO and health authorities of its member states to fight the pandemic together, with a view to protecting the health of Hong Kong people and maintaining a robust healthcare system in Hong Kong.
Quarantine exemptions set
The HKSAR Government announced (May 18) that people conducting audit services or enterprises providing construction-related services on the Mainland can apply for an exemption from the compulsory quarantine arrangement. Those engaged in technological R&D activities in the Mainland, Macao and Taiwan and medical personnel of The University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital and Hong Kong enterprises providing medical or dental services on the Mainland can also apply for exemption from the compulsory quarantine arrangement. The HKSAR Government is discussing with Mainland authorities the mutual recognition of COVID-19 testing results conducted by recognized medical laboratories, with a view to exempting the quarantine requirement for Hong Kong travelers to the Mainland.
Chartered flight for Hong Kong residents in India
The HKSAR Government has arranged the first chartered flight to bring 249 Hong Kong residents stranded in India back to Hong Kong. Having returned to Hong Kong on the morning of May 18, these residents are required to undergo a compulsory COVID-19 testing and 14-day compulsory quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus in the city.
Additional funding for COVID-19 research
The University Grants Committee and the Research Grants Council have allocated a one-off additional funding of US$32 million in total to support research related to COVID-19 and other novel infectious diseases. It is expected that the additional funding can support around 25 medium-size and two to three large-scale research projects.
Genome sequencing project set
The HKSAR Government announced (May 14) the Strategic Development of Genomic Medicine in Hong Kong, with an emphasis to set up a genome sequencing database to help detect undiagnosed cancers. The pilot phase of the Hong Kong Genome Project focuses on patients and their family members with undiagnosed disorders and hereditary cancers. Up to 50,000 genomes would be sequenced. Secretary for Food and Health Prof Sophia Chan said that this project would benefit science and data development and also provide a more precise diagnosis and personalized treatment of patients in the future. A budget of US$153 million is set aside for this project.
Green finance program launched
The Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency launched (May 14) its Green Finance Certification Scheme to provide third-party conformity assessments on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) fund and further promote ESG initiatives towards more green and sustainable uses. “The extension to the ESG fund will promote more disclosure and strengthen market confidence in green financial products”, said Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui, who added that the HKSAR Government will continue to develop and consolidate Hong Kong’s position as the leading hub for green finance in the region.
Facilitating FinTech development
The HKSAR Government will continue to work with relevant sectors to promote and facilitate FinTech development in Hong Kong using a multi-pronged approach, said Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Christopher Hui when he visited Cyberport (May 14). He said Hong Kong's maturing ecosystem, pioneering infrastructure, conducive and forward-looking regulatory environment, coupled with traditional strengths in financial services, have elevated Hong Kong to one of the major FinTech hubs in Asia. Joining the Cyberport visit, Secretary for Innovation and Technology Alfred Sit said the HKSAR Government has set aside US$705 million for the Cyberport Expansion Project to develop potential emerging digital technology such as InsurTech, RegTech and LawTech. This would provide more opportunities for young people to pursue a career in innovation and technology (I&T) and further promote the overall I&T development in Hong Kong.
CEO of Securities and Futures Commission reappointed
Ashley Alder has been re-appointed as CEO of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). The re-appointment is for a term of three years, from October 1, 2020, to September 30, 2023. Mr Alder was first appointed as CEO of the SFC in 2011 and has played a pivotal role in leading the SFC in setting strategic direction and establishing it as a fair, effective and robust regulator amidst a fast-changing and challenging financial landscape both locally and globally. A government statement said continuity of leadership at the SFC would significantly boost the confidence of international and local investors about Hong Kong's financial markets and be tremendously beneficial to financial stability.
IPCC recommendations accepted
The HKSAR Government accepted (May 15) all 52 recommendations proposed by the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) in its Thematic Study Report on the Public Order Events arising from the Fugitive Offenders Bill since June 2019 and the Police Actions in Response. The Chief Executive has requested the Secretary for Security to establish a task force and personally supervise the task force to study and follow up on every recommendation. The government also expresses gratitude to the IPCC Chairman Anthony Neoh and all members of the IPCC for their time and efforts in preparing the report. The Security Bureau is making preparations to convene a task force meeting as soon as practicable to develop a work plan and identify the priority items in respect of the recommendations put forward by the IPCC. Police will participate in and fully collaborate with the task force.
HKANY’s webinar on post COVID -19 global supply chain
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, Hong Kong maintained its global connectivity to ensure the continued flow in trade in the global supply chain, said Director of HKETONY Joanne Chu at a webinar organized by the Hong Kong Association of New York on May 14. During the session, Professor Yossi Sheffi of MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics shared his insight on post-COVID-19 global supply chain and Anna Fan, Director, New York at Hong Kong Trade Development (HKTDC) spoke on the support available for businesses and trade.
HKTDC’s webinar on practical advice for start-ups
How can your start-up weather COVID-19 and come out ready to set sail on the proper entrepreneurial course? Join the HKTDC’s webinar “ Practical Advice for Start-ups to Achieve their Goals during Difficult Times ” on May 21 at 1 PM (EDT) to learn more about surviving and thriving in this unprecedented times from maintaining relationships with investors, customers and suppliers to innovating for the new normal to tapping into new opportunities during this pandemic. Guest speakers include Illana Diamond, Managing Director of AlphaLab Bear, Innovation Works and Sherrill Mosse, Inventor and Designer of MinkeeBlue.
Samson Young wins the inaugural Sigg Prize
Hong Kong artist Samson Young has been named the winner of the inaugural Sigg Prize , a new award from the M+ museum, which is slated to open in 2021 in the West Kowloon Cultural District. The jury recognizes Young for his installation “Muted Situations #22: Muted Tchaikovsky’s 5 th ”, a multifaceted approach to sound and performance. Last fall, Young had his first US museum exhibition “Samson Young; Silver Moon or Golden Star, Which Will You Buy of Me?” at University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, which was supported by HKETONY.
Conversation with Hong Kong cultural practitioners
How has COVID-19 affected cultural exchange and the role of artists? Join independent artist and curator Enoch Cheng and researcher, curator & art critic Vivian Ting in a webinar on May 22 at 10 PM (EDT) as they discuss their experiences in cultural exchange amid the current pandemic. They will also share their approach in responding to the “new normal” and the values and elements needed to preserve for the future. Cheng is currently in New York as artist-in-residence at the American Museum of Natural History. He will extend his research for a further six months as a HKETONY-ACC Fellow. Ting received an ACC fellowship in 2017 and spent six months in the US to conduct research on learning and participation in museums.
  • Hong Kong’s first quarter economy contracted by 8.9% year-on-year as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt local economic activities and supply chains. On a seasonally adjusted quarter-to-quarter comparison, real GDP dropped 5.3%. Considering the sharp economic contraction in the first quarter, the high uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, and the grim global economic situation, the real GDP growth forecast for 2020 has been revised downwards to -4% to -7%.

  • The volume of Hong Kong’s total exports of goods and imports of goods in March decreased by 4.6% and 10.3% respectively year-on-year. In the same comparison period, the price of total exports of goods dropped 1.4% while imports of goods declined by 0.9%. The total export volume to the US in March fell 27.3% year-on-year.
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: Have Hong Kong’s capitalist system and way of life been preserved?
A: The Basic Law provides that the capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged. Hong Kong maintains a free and open market economy with a free flow of capital, goods, intangible assets, and a freely convertible currency. People's lifestyle remains the same as before. ( BL Articles 5; 112; 115 )

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