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FS explains voucher, duty proposal

Financial Secretary Paul Chan today responded to questions concerning his 2021-22 Budget speech, such as the proposed consumption voucher scheme and increase in the stamp duty on stock transfers.   During a radio show this morning, the finance chief was asked if the Government would offer the public another option to receive cash instead.   Mr Chan stressed that the Government put forward the electronic voucher option after considering public views.   "On the consumption voucher (scheme), the idea is to try to encourage those spending in domestic shops within a short period of time. Over the past two days, we have been listening to views from members of the public.   "The policy consideration, in fact, this year is to try to use this money to help revive domestic consumption and the economy. That's why we chose to use consumption vouchers instead.   "Please do acknowledge that the scope of spending is very wide. People can use it to go to markets, to go to

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Temporary hospital completed

Chief Executive Carrie Lam today officiated at the completion and handover ceremony of the temporary hospital next to the AsiaWorld-Expo which was completed with the support of the central government.   The temporary hospital is now named North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre.   Mrs Lam, accompanied by Secretary for Development Michael Wong, Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan, together with Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui, CPC Shenzhen Municipal Committee Secretary Wang Weizhong and State Council Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office Deputy Director Huang Liuquan, jointly unveiled the plaque for the project.   The Chief Executive said in her speech that the project again conveys the central government's support for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government's anti-epidemic efforts and its care to Hong Kong citizens.   She added that it also gives full play to the deep brotherhood between Guangdong and Hong Kong, as well as that between Shenzhen and Hong Kong while showcasing the determination and collaboration of the project team and staff members that yield enormous outcomes.    Mrs Lam noted the resources, nucleic acid tests and vaccines as well as the temporary hospital have all demonstrated the central government's care to the Hong Kong SAR, adding that the central government is forever the strongest backbone of the city's anti-epidemic work.   She thanked the central government, the Guangdong Provincial Government, the Shenzhen Municipal Government and the Wuhan experts for their support and guidance.   The temporary hospital comprises six ward blocks and a medical centre. There are negative pressure wards designed with reference to the standards of tier-1 isolation wards that can accommodate about 820 beds.   The Hospital Authority is striving to put the new hospital into service next month.   Together with the community treatment facility expansion completed in October last year, the central government has in total provided an extra 1,800 beds for Hong Kong to fight COVID-19, greatly increasing the healthcare system's resilience against the pandemic.    The Chief Executive said that with the adoption of modular integrated construction (MiC) technology, construction of the temporary hospital was completed in just four months.   The use of MiC technology not only enhanced the efficiency and uplifted the quality of the project but also achieved a very high safety standard, providing a valuable reference for the future construction of healthcare facilities in Hong Kong, Mrs Lam added.
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