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Restoring WTO dispute system urged

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Algernon Yau called on World Trade Organization (WTO) members to support the restoration of a fully functioning dispute settlement system during the 13th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC13) in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, yesterday.   At a meeting on dispute settlement reform, Mr Yau said the dispute settlement system has functioned as a cornerstone of global trade, creating stability and predictability. He added that to have a well-functioning system restored this year, as was mandated at MC12, would serve the interests of all WTO members and of the global business community.   He stressed that Hong Kong, China has been involved in every stage of the reform process in relation to dispute settlement and will continue its active participation.   Speaking at another meeting, on development, Mr Yau said that the Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement is a very much a pro-development agreement.   He highligh

8 COVID-19 cases reported

(To watch the full press briefing with sign language interpretation, click here.)   The Centre for Health Protection today said it is investigating eight additional COVID-19 cases, of which three are imported, one is linked with an imported case and one of the remaining four local cases has an unknown source of infection.   The centre’s Communicable Disease Branch Head Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan explained at a press briefing this afternoon that the unlinked case involves a 26-year-old Pakistani man who was arrested over illegal assembly in Kwun Tong on March 19.   She also pointed out that the patient had a low viral load when he was taken to the hospital.   “The Ct (cycle threshold) value when the COVID-19 infected patient was admitted to the hospital was quite high and also the immunoglobulin antibody test has been returned as positive.   “So it is possible that he was not very infectious during the time of his arrest. But of course we cannot quantify the risk, although there may be a small risk.”   Dr Chuang added that 16 other people who were arrested along with the Pakistani national are considered close contacts and must undergo quarantine.   “So for the other police officers and also ambulancemen, we will treat them in the usual manner. We’ll assess the risk of infection individually as to whether any of them had close contact with the patient. If they did, we will also treat them as close contacts.”   Among the three linked cases, one of the patients is a customer of URSUS Fitness.   Meanwhile, more than 10 people have preliminarily tested positive for the virus, including a 71-year-old taxi driver who lives in Siu Sai Wan. He last drove his taxi on March 17.   For information and health advice on COVID-19, visit the Government's dedicated webpage.
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