APRIL 20 - 26, 2021
HK-Singapore Air Travel Bubble begins from May 26
Designated flights under the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble (ATB) will begin from May 26 to resume cross-border air travel in a gradual and orderly manner amid stabilized epidemic situation in the two places. Riding on the original arrangement, the two governments will impose more stringent measures on travel history prior to departure, the mechanism to suspend or resume the ATB and contact tracing. Hong Kong residents travelling under the ATB can only take designated flights to Singapore at least 14 days after they have had two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Announcing (Apr 26) the program’s relaunch, Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau said he hopes the ATB, if successfully implemented, could serve as the basis upon which similar arrangements could be made with other economies.
New direction in virus fight
With the fourth wave of the epidemic under control, coupled with the enhancement of anti-epidemic capabilities in various aspects and the roll-out of the vaccination program, Hong Kong is now adopting a new direction in fighting the pandemic with a view to return to normality. Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government will adjust distancing measures with “vaccine bubble” as the basis with measures such as shortening the quarantine period for people arriving from low-risk places, and reinforcing infection control measures in a targeted manner. Pointing out that the most feasible way for Hong Kong to get through the epidemic is for people to get vaccinated, Mrs Lam reiterated that Hong Kong has sufficient capacity in terms of vaccination and encouraged members of the public to protect themselves by getting vaccinated. To date (Apr 26), about 1.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered for members of the public.

Chief Executive attends Boao Forum
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam attended the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 in Hainan (Apr 20) and held a number of bilateral meetings. Speaking at a session on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), Mrs Lam highlighted Hong Kong’s unique advantages under “One Country, Two Systems” and the city’s top-notch capabilities in scientific research. Coupled with the advanced manufacturing technology of the GBA cities in the Mainland, Hong Kong can promote the development of an international I&T hub in the GBA together with other cities. Hong Kong can also serve as a talent base in the GBA, leveraging its metropolitan status and attractiveness to entice overseas talents to work in the GBA, thereby enhancing the flow of talents.
Digital opportunities in Greater Bay Area
Business leaders across the US and in Asia were briefed on the latest developments and new business opportunities brought by e-commerce in the GBA during a webinar jointly organized by Hong Kong Trade Development Council and CW CPA (Apr 22). Delivering closing remarks at the “China’s Greater Bay Area: Updates and Digital Opportunities” webinar session, Director of HKETONY Candy Nip said the GBA Initiative sets out the strategic blueprint to develop market integration, infrastructure connectivity and cooperative platforms across Hong Kong, Macao and nine cities in Guangdong Province, boosting economic growth in the region. Pointing out that Hong Kong plays a key role in the GBA, Ms Nip highlighted the various institutional strengths of Hong Kong, under the “one country, two systems” framework that makes Hong Kong the ideal location to tap into the huge GBA market. These include the city’s full range of mature professional services, its status as an international financial center and offshore Renminbi hub and fintech center, along with the city's excellent infrastructure as a logistics hub. Other speakers were Director of New York of Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) Anna Fan; Christin Leung of Source Network Media; Thomas Wong, Partner of Hong Kong-based CW CPA; as well as Robert Lee and Hernando Gomez from Hong Kong Association of Florida.
Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2020 clarified
Hong Kong’s Security Bureau clarified (Apr 23) that the proposed enabling provision in the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2020 bill is intended for fulfilling the HKSAR’s international obligation under the Convention on International Civil Aviation with a view to implementing the Advance Passenger Information system, which is intended to require the provision of passenger information on flights heading to Hong Kong, rather than departing flights. The right of Hong Kong residents to enter or leave the city is not affected. To date, over 90 countries already have the API system in place, including the US, the European Union member states, Canada and Australia.
  • Hong Kong’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 6.8% for the Jan – Mar period compared to the previous three-month period. The underemployment rate also fell to 3.8%. Secretary for Labour & Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong pointed out that the labor market was under notable pressure in the first quarter this year, but the situation stabilized in the quarter’s latter part as the fourth wave of the local COVID-19 epidemic receded.

  • Overall consumer prices rose 0.5% in March year-on-year, less than the average 1.1% increase in January and February. Netting out the effects of the government’s one-off relief measures, March’s underlying inflation rate rose 0.2% year-on-year, more than the average change of -0.3% in January and February. The rise was mainly due to the increases in the costs for meals bought away from home and the prices of pork.
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: Is Chinese the only official language allowed under the Basic Law?
A: No, in addition to Chinese, English is also an official language used by the executive authorities, the legislature and the judiciary of the HKSAR. (BL Article 9)

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