February 9 - 16, 2021
Social distancing measures to be eased
Some of the social distancing measures in Hong Kong can be gradually relaxed due to the current COVID-19 epidemic situation, announced Secretary for Food and Health Professor Sophia Chan. She pointed out that Hong Kong has seen a decline in the number of confirmed cases, with infections remaining at low double-digit figures and unlinked cases at single digits. Starting Feb 18, some of the previously closed premises can reopen and dine-in services at restaurants will be extended to 10 pm, with additional infection control measures imposed. Professor Chan added that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government will continue to closely monitor the situation and see if there will be a rebound of cases after the Lunar New Year holiday. Meanwhile, as the global COVID-19 epidemic situation remains severe, the boarding restrictions for places with severe epidemic situation and 21-day compulsory quarantine arrangements for inbound travelers from overseas will be maintained.
“LeaveHomeSafe” mobile app at all government buildings and offices
Starting Mar 1, all employees of the HKSAR Government and members of the public will be required to use the “LeaveHomeSafe” mobile app and scan the QR code before entering government buildings or offices. People can also choose to register their names, contact numbers and the date and time of their visits before entering the relevant premises for necessary contact tracing if a confirmed case is found. The Government said it decided to implement such an arrangement at all government buildings and offices with a view to better assisting the Centre for Health Protection in epidemiological investigations and protecting the safety of employees and the public.
Hong Kong as an international financial center
Recognizing that there are challenges and competition, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is mindful to enhancing its financial platforms to consolidate its strengths and maintain its leading position and safeguard Hong Kong’s financial stability and its international financial center status, wrote HKMA Chief Executive Eddie Yue (Feb 8). He noted that capital continues to flow into Hong Kong, with no significant outflow of capital to offshore accounts. Total banking deposits rose 2.9% in 2019 and 5.4% in 2020. Hong Kong remains the number one private wealth management center in Asia and second globally after Switzerland. Assets under management by private banks grew by 19% in 2019 and are expected to register double-digit growth again in 2020. Hong Kong remains the largest private equity hub in Asia outside of China, with 15 of the world’s top 20 private equity firms in Hong Kong. As at June 2020, a total of 445 hedge funds are based in Hong Kong, the largest number in the Asia Pacific region. The city’s capital market continues to thrive, with Hong Kong ranking number two globally for IPOs in 2020, just behind NASDAQ. “All the intangible factors: connectivity, laissez faire environment, international flair, cosmopolitan society, cultural diversity, etc. that make Hong Kong an evolving, thriving and welcoming city for global citizens to invest, work and live in, remain intact,” wrote Mr Yue.
Chief Executive delivers Lunar New Year message
On the eve of the Year of the Ox (Feb 11), Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam delivered a Lunar New Year message to Hong Kong citizens residing overseas, updating them on the latest developments in Hong Kong. Pointing out that Hong Kong is benefiting from the rapid development of the country and the opportunities brought about by the huge and expanding market in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Mrs Lam said Hong Kong welcomes talents from all over the world. “In particular, we welcome overseas Hong Kong citizens to return to Hong Kong for development,” said the Chief Executive, adding that the city has implemented several measures to assist second generation of Hong Kong people who have moved overseas to return to Hong Kong. The city will also introduce a new Global STEM Professorship Scheme to attract innovation and technology talents from all over the world. “I welcome everyone to make use of these policies and come back to build Hong Kong together and contribute to our country,” she said.
“Hong Kong Welcomes U” portal updated
The one-stop web portal “Hong Kong Welcomes U”, providing information for people considering a move to Hong Kong to work, invest or study, was recently updated. It has adopted a new web responsive design to facilitate viewers using different devices. The portal provides a wide range of information on employment, education, investment and immigration matters as well as social, recreational and cultural activities, along with a handy reference to a range of initiatives and support for those wanting to learn more about relocating to and living in Hong Kong.
Dual nationality stance explained
Chinese nationals who have dual nationality are not eligible for foreign consular protection in Hong Kong, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam in response to media enquiries about visits by consuls to their nationals with dual nationality in the city (Feb 9). She said that people should refer to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties for such matters. If a person with dual nationality is in one of the places or countries that does not recognize dual nationality, then he will not be eligible for consular protection, including consular visits. Mrs Lam added that the National People’s Congress Standing Committee in 1996 decided that those with dual nationalities will be regarded as Chinese nationals in Hong Kong, and would not be eligible for consular protection. The Chief Executive also reiterated that the UK Government’s recent move to grant the right of abode to British National (Overseas) passport holders has breached the understanding reached at the time of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
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: Are Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy?
A: In accordance with the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, the National People’s Congress (NPC) enacted the Basic Law, authorizing the HKSAR to exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial powers, including that of final adjudication, in accordance with the Basic Law. The Central People’s Government (CPG) shall be responsible for the foreign affairs and defense relating to the HKSAR and other matters authorized by the Basic Law. It also authorizes the HKSAR to conduct relevant external affairs on its own in accordance with the Basic Law. (BL Articles 2; 12-17; 19; 22; 106)
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