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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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4 virus cases found in restricted areas

The Government announced that the compulsory testing exercises and enforcement operations for the restricted areas in Hung Hom, Mong Kok and Quarry Bay finished today with four preliminary positive COVID-19 cases found.   After the compulsory testing exercises, people in the restricted areas who can present SMS notifications with negative test results or are wearing wristbands as proof of having undergone testing can leave the areas.    The Government exercised the power under the Prevention & Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation on February 7 to make restriction-testing declarations, requiring people within the two restricted areas to stay in their premises and undergo compulsory testing.   They had to stay in their homes until everyone in the two areas was tested and the results were mostly ascertained.    Additionally, the Government issued compulsory testing notices to those who had been at these buildings for more than two hours from January 25 to February 7 to undergo compulsory testing before February 9 even if they were not in the restricted areas when the declaration took effect.    It set up temporary specimen collection stations at the restricted areas and requested people subject to mandatory testing to have their combined nasal and throat swab samples collected for COVID-19 testing.   About 370 residents in the Hung Hom restricted area, 1,140 in the Mong Kok one and 860 in Quarry Bay were tested.    Enforcement actions, carried out immediately after the compulsory testing exercises, verified that all people in the restricted areas were tested.    Meanwhile, the Government assigned staff to visit about 1,218 households in the three restricted areas, of which 181 did not answer the door. Some of them are possibly vacant units.    Those who did not answer the door are urged to contact the Government to arrange testing as soon as possible.
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