JUL 27 - AUG 2, 2021
New border control measures for overseas places
Starting Aug 9, Hong Kong will adopt a risk-based approach in its border control measures and re-categorize overseas places into high-risk, medium-risk and low-risk groups. Boarding, quarantine and testing requirements for inbound travelers will be implemented based on risk levels. Currently, the US is listed among medium risk places. Hong Kong residents and fully vaccinated non-Hong Kong residents from the US will be allowed to board flights for Hong Kong. Under the new measures, fully vaccinated US travelers must present a vaccination record at boarding. They are required to undergo compulsory quarantine for 14 days in a designated quarantine hotel, and comply with repeated testing upon arrival. In addition, the second phase of serology antibody testing arrangements is expected to be implemented in mid-August, where self-paid serology antibody testing service for inbound travelers will be provided at the airport. For fully vaccinated travelers with proof of positive serology antibody test result will be subject to a shortened quarantine period. Implementation details of the relevant arrangements will be announced later.
More rooms provided under Designated Quarantine Hotel Scheme
A total of 37 hotels will provide about 10,000 rooms of various types and rates, under the fifth cycle (Sep 1 – Nov 30) of the Designated Quarantine Hotel Scheme, for selection by people arriving in Hong Kong from overseas places. More hotel rooms are provided in the new cycle due to the strong demand for rooms under the fourth cycle.
First Olympic swimming medals for Hong Kong
Hong Kong swimmer Siobhan Haughey claims two Olympic silver medals and set new Asian records at the Tokyo Olympics, in the Women’s 200-meter and 100-meter Freestyle events. These are the first Olympic swimming medals in Hong Kong’s history. Extending her congratulations, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said this was the first time that a Hong Kong athlete has won two medals at the same Olympic Games. “Haughey has been making continuous personal breakthroughs and has beaten world-class opponents with brilliant performances in the competitions,” she said. In addition to Haughey, Hong Kong fencer Cheung Ka-long has won a gold medal in fencing. Other Hong Kong athletes have also achieved great results at the Tokyo Olympics. Badminton mixed doubles duo of Tang Chun-man and Tse Ying-suet set Hong Kong’s best Olympic badminton result. The women’s table tennis team has emerged as one of the final 4 and will compete in the semi-finals on Aug 3. (Photo credit: Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China)
Second quarter economy grows 7.5%
Hong Kong’s economy in the second quarter of 2021 grew 7.5% over a year earlier, according to the advance estimates on GDP. For the first half of 2021, real GDP grew 7.8% over a year earlier. While goods exports were robust, tourism remained at a standstill due to the pandemic. Consumption-related activities improved further, but were still notably below their pre-recession levels. Hong Kong’s economy is on the path to recovery amid the improving global economic conditions and receding local epidemic. To pave the way for a broader-based economic recovery, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government emphasized that it is essential for citizens to achieve widespread COVID-19 vaccination in order to pave the way for a broader based economic recovery. To date (Aug 2), over 5.7 million doses of vaccines have been administered to the public in Hong Kong, with close to 2.5 million people fully vaccinated. The revised GDP figures for the second quarter will be released on Aug 13.
5.5 million eligible residents receives consumption vouchers
About 5.5 million eligible people received the first consumption voucher, under the Consumption Voucher Scheme, through the four stored value facility (SVF) operators on Aug 1. The vouchers can be used widely at local retail, catering and service outlets or their online platforms which accept payments by the four designated SVFs. These include retail shops, market stalls, department stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, fast food shops, coffee shops, recreational facilities, beauty salons and public transport, etc. Eligible Hong Kong residents who have not yet registered can submit their registration by Aug 14. 
I&T adoption commended
Secretary for Innovation & Technology Alfred Sit commended government departments for their innovation and courage to break new ground at the Leading Towards Robotics Technologies Innovation Competition Award Presentation Ceremony (Jul 28). Mr Sit said the HKSAR Government has been encouraging the use of innovation and technology, including robotics technologies, to enhance public services and bring greater convenience and benefits to the public. The competition embraced robotics technologies across a host of public services, along with proof-of-concept testing for the proposals to expedite the adoption of technologies in various government departments. The new ideas and impetus injected into public services can benefit the public and promote the development of smart government, said Mr Sit. Details of the 10 shortlisted proposals can be found on the website of the Smart LAB.
Record number of students join STEM internship program
The latest round of the STEM Internship Scheme launched in summer has attracted over 1,700 university students in the past two months, exceeding the total number of participants last year. About 1,000 companies or organizations have also joined this round so far, similar to the total number last year. The Innovation and Technology Commission said the figures showed that the program is well recognized and supported by the universities and the business community. It provides university students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines with at least four consecutive weeks of internships and a US$1,346 monthly allowance for up to three months in every academic year.
“Raging Fire” added to “Hong Kong Panorama” lineup
“Raging Fire”, the final work of Hong Kong film director Benny Chan, will have its international premiere as the centerpiece presentation (Aug 9) at the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF). This action film, starring Donnie Yen and Nicholas Tse, is one of the 15 films featured in the “Hong Kong Panorama” series at the NYAFF, running from Aug 6 – 22. This year’s NYAFF will celebrate the achievements of critically-acclaimed director Ann Hui by presenting her the “Variety Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award”, while actor Gordon Lam Ka-tung will receive the “Variety Star Asia Award”. The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York will also present a free outdoor screening of Hong Kong’s wuxia classic “New Dragon Gate Inn” on Aug 11 at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park. Free tickets to the special outdoor screening are available by entering the lottery through the TodayTix app by Aug 8.
  • The value of total retail sales in June, provisionally estimated at US$3.6 billion, rose 5.8% year-on-year. Retail sales further increased in June on a year-on-year basis as consumption demand revived further alongside the stable local epidemic and improved labor market situations. Looking ahead, the Consumption Voucher Scheme will help stimulate local consumer sentiment and provide support to the retail sector.

  • Expenditure for the April to June period amounted to US$18.4 billion and revenue US$14.5 billion, resulting in a cumulative year-to-date deficit of US$3.9 billion. Fiscal reserves stood at US$115 billion as at June 30. The cumulative year-to-date deficit for the period was mainly due to the fact that some major types of revenue including salaries and profits taxes are mostly received towards the end of a financial 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: 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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