March 23 - 29, 2021
Social distancing measures maintained
Social distancing measures currently in place in Hong Kong will be largely maintained until Apr 14, said Secretary for Food and Health Professor Sophia Chan (Mar 29). While greatly relaxing the social distancing measures during the Easter holiday may lead to a rebound in infections, some low-risk activities will be resumed to give families a wider choice of activities for the Easter holiday, after careful risk assessment and considering expert advice. Public and private swimming pools can reopen from Apr 1 if they comply with various infection control measures. Public beaches will also reopen in phases. Capacity in cinemas, theme parks and performance venues will be increased from 50% to 75%. Chief Executive Carrie Lam urged Hong Kong residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible as it not only protects oneself, it also protects families and friends as well as the community. She added that experts have pointed out that it is necessary for a considerable proportion of people to receive vaccination to achieve herd immunity, thereby helping Hong Kong get through the epidemic. To date (Mar 29), about 475,100 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered for members of the public.
Initial vaccine probe completed
An initial investigation found that there are no safety risks concerning the two batches of BioNTech vaccines delivered to Hong Kong and the people who have received the BioNTech vaccines do not need to worry. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government made the announcement (Mar 27) after it received the initial investigation results from the supplier of the vaccine. According to the investigations completed so far, there is no indication of any obvious systemic factors during the processes from filling and packaging to administration that could have led to the relevant packaging defects. BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations were suspended (Mar 24) following written notification about the defective packaging. Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan reiterated that Hong Kong has a sound drugs monitoring system which includes vaccines. “The system is in place and it is robust. There will be continuous drugs monitoring. And finally, I think with the existing mechanism that we have, all the vaccines that we have authorized for emergency use are safe, efficacious and also of required quality," she said.
Global Regtech Challenge launched
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) launched (Mar 25) the “Global Regtech Challenge” competition, designed to raise the Hong Kong banking industry’s awareness of the potential of Regulatory Technology (Regtech) adoption. The contest is one of the key highlights in the HKMA’s two-year roadmap to promote Regtech adoption in Hong Kong, as laid out in a White Paper entitled “Transforming Risk Management and Compliance: Harnessing the Power of Regtech” published in Nov 2020. Regtech providers from around the world are invited to take part to showcase how their solutions may be applied to the local market to help solve common risk management and regulatory compliance pain points experienced by banks. Participants from anywhere in the world can register online at where detailed information about the competition can be found. The deadline for submission is Apr 16.
Opportunities for I&T sector
Secretary for Innovation & Technology Alfred Sit briefed (Mar 24) the innovation and technology (I&T) sector on the opportunities brought about by the 14th Five-Year Plan at two virtual seminars. The 14th Five-Year Plan indicates clear support for Hong Kong’s development into an international I&T hub as well as taking forward the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The Innovation & Technology Bureau will work at full steam to take forward relevant work to further consolidate the city’s position as a global research collaboration hub and facilitate cross-boundary exchange of innovative elements. During the sessions, Mr Sit also shared the HKSAR Government’s efforts in promoting I&T and the latest developments of co-operation with the Mainland and exchanged views on issues of mutual concern with the participants.
“City in Time” tourism project launched
Hong Kong’s Tourism Commission launched (Mar 25) the “City in Time” tourism project that lets locals and tourists travel through time and enjoy enriched visual and audio experiences through multimedia technologies and augmented reality (AR) on their smartphones. Using the “City in Time” mobile app, locals and tourists can scan the AR markers installed at designated locations to experience 360-degree historical panoramas featuring heritage photos or illustrations by young Hong Kong artists. It is also equipped with a selfie function that enables users to share their City in Time experience with friends on social media platforms. Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau said “City in Time” is a key project to promote cultural, creative and smart tourism. This is also part of the efforts to strengthen the appeal of Hong Kong’s attractions to prepare for the return of visitors by showcasing the city’s distinctive culture and history.
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 Hong Kong a free port and a separate customs territory?
A: The HKSAR is a separate customs territory. The HKSAR, using the name “Hong Kong, China”, is a member in its own right of the World Trade Organization and the World Customs Organization. Ships of all nations enjoy access to the ports of the HKSAR, which is a free port, in accordance with the laws of the Region. Export quotas, tariff preferences and other similar arrangements, which are obtained or made by the HKSAR or which were obtained or made and remain valid, shall be enjoyed exclusively by Hong Kong. (BL Articles 114; 116; 126)
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