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More HZMB private car quotas set

The governments of Hong Kong and Macau have agreed to increase the regular quotas for Hong Kong cross-boundary non-commercial private cars using the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge to Macau, the Transport Department announced today.   The decision was made to enhance traffic flow between Hong Kong and Macau, better utilising the bridge, the department said.   It will increase the Hong Kong quota by 1,000, following the earlier quota allocation of 1,800 for Hong Kong.   The additional quota will be distributed in two phases from the second quarter.   Half of the additional 1,000 quota allocations is for company applicants and the other half is for individual applicants. The quotas are valid for no more than three years. The eligibility criteria of quota applications remains the same.   Private cars allocated with Hong Kong quotas will be permitted to access the city of Macau multiple times using the bridge.   The Hong Kong quota allotments will be re-allocated upon expiry thro

Advice on vaccine use published

Two scientific committees and the Chief Executive's expert advisory panel have considered that the benefit of using the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine generally exceeds the risk of not using any vaccines in people aged 60 or above.   The Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases and the Scientific Committee on Emerging & Zoonotic Diseases under the Centre for Health Protection (JSC) today published the consensus interim recommendations on using the CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine by Sinovac Biotech (Hong Kong) in Hong Kong.   The Advisory Panel on COVID-19 Vaccines had earlier submitted its recommendations to the Secretary for Food & Health and considered that, under the current epidemic situation, the benefits of authorising the use of Sinovac's vaccine for protecting against COVID-19 outweigh the risks.   It also recommended that the appropriateness of using CoronaVac in the elderly aged 60 or above should be advised by the two scientific committees.   The committees convened a meeting today, joined by the Chief Executive's expert advisory panel (EAP), to provide interim recommendations to the Government on the use of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine in the city.   Given that phase 3 clinical studies of the vaccine have not been published in peer-reviewed journals, the JSC-EAP reviewed the data and information available, based on materials submitted to the advisory panel by Sinovac.   The interim recommendation might be updated based on additional safety and efficacy data from phase 3 clinical trials, international developments and conditions of emergency use approval in Hong Kong.   The impact of vaccine delivery on non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) was also deliberated at the joint meeting.   It was considered that at the current phase of the vaccination programme, there is limited evidence on the effects of vaccination on preventing transmission and there are constraints in vaccine availability. Population level protection will not be achieved in the short term.   It was also agreed at the meeting that vaccination is only one of the tools in the overall public health response to COVID-19 and the combination of NPIs with vaccination will allow for maximum protection against the virus.   There is a need to continue public health strategies on NPIs, including social distancing, good hand hygiene and wearing a mask in public places, to reduce the risk of transmission.   Delays in vaccine supply and suboptimal vaccine uptake would mean that NPI measures have to be kept in place for longer.   Click here for the interim recommendations.
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