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Rules for vaccinated staff relaxed

The Government today announced its decision to maintain the current social distancing measures and specified that premises' staff who have completed a COVID-19 vaccination course will not be required to undergo regular testing.   The Food & Health Bureau pointed out that the number of local confirmed cases has declined to a lower level.   However, it explained that to continue containing the spread of the disease and to strive for zero case as soon as possible, taking into account the pressure for potential rebound of the epidemic brought by earlier relaxation of social distancing measures and the frequent gatherings among the public during the long holiday, the existing social distancing measures must be maintained for two more weeks.   Noting that the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme has been smoothly implemented for a while, the bureau said some staff of the catering business premises or scheduled premises have completed the vaccination course, ie after 14 days following

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Govt supports national plan

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government welcomed the National 14th Five-Year Plan that was approved by National People's Congress (NPC) today, saying it will proactively integrate Hong Kong into national development.   The Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic & Social Development of the People's Republic of China & the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 was approved by the fourth session of the 13th NPC.   The Hong Kong SAR Government greatly welcomed the contents relating to Hong Kong in the 14th Five-Year Plan and expressed gratitude for the central government's support for its future development in various key areas.   Chief Executive Carrie Lam said: "The 14th Five-Year Plan is the blueprint and action agenda for the social and economic development of the country in the next five years. I am delighted that contents relating to Hong Kong can be found in its chapter 61 on maintaining the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau, and chapter 31 on proactively and progressively taking forward the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA).   “Indeed, the 14th Five-Year Plan has incorporated many concrete proposals put up by the Hong Kong SAR Government after more than a year of study, demonstrating the central government's unwavering support for Hong Kong.”   Noting that the city has faced unprecedented challenges over the past two years, Mrs Lam said that only by firmly upholding the “one country, two systems” principle and safeguarding national security can society and the economy of the Hong Kong SAR progress and develop steadily.   “The part concerning Hong Kong and Macau in the 14th Five-Year Plan states from the outset that to maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau, it is imperative to fully and faithfully implement the ‘one country, two systems’ principle; uphold the constitutional order as enshrined in the Constitution and the Basic Law; uphold the central authorities' overall jurisdiction over the SARs; implement the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the SARs to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests of the nation and the social stability of the SARs; and resolutely prevent and curb interference by external forces in the affairs of Hong Kong.   “I fully agree to these fundamental principles."   On economic development, the Hong Kong SAR Government noted that the 14th Five-Year Plan continues to support Hong Kong to enhance its status as an international financial, transportation and trade centre; strengthen its status as a global offshore renminbi business hub, an international asset management centre and a risk management centre; establish itself as a centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region; and promote service industries for high-end and high value-added development.   The plan also raises for the first time the support for Hong Kong to enhance its status as an international aviation hub, to develop into an international innovation and technology hub and a regional intellectual property trading centre, and develop into a hub for arts and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world, it added.   The Hong Kong SAR Government emphasised that it is deeply encouraged by such new supporting statements and will continue to press ahead with measures in bolstering Hong Kong's competitiveness in sectors including the development of the three runway system at the airport, the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation & Technology Co-operation Zone, the West Kowloon Cultural District and the various new initiatives announced in the 2020 Policy Address.   On high-quality bay area development, the 14th Five-Year Plan states the deepening and widening of mutual access between the financial markets of Hong Kong and the Mainland and strengthening the bilateral exchanges and co-operation on different fronts, and, for the first time, includes the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Loop as a major platform of co-operation in the bay area.   Pursuant to the Outline Development Plan for the bay area, the Hong Kong SAR Government has been taking forward various initiatives over the past two years. During the Chief Executive's visit to Guangdong and Shenzhen last November, key collaboration initiatives for 2021 were formulated with the Guangdong and Shenzhen governments.   These initiatives include facilitating Hong Kong youths to study, work and start business in the Mainland cities of the bay area, which is consistent with the objective of establishing a brand of quality exchanges among the youths of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau as stated in the 14th Five-Year Plan.   The plan also contains measures to enable Hong Kong and Macau residents to develop and live in the Mainland, strengthen education on the Constitution and the Basic Law and national development, and enhance national awareness and patriotism among Hong Kong and Macau people.   Through education in schools and other means, the Hong Kong SAR Government noted that it has been stepping up efforts to enhance the people's understanding of national development, in particular national security, and will roll out a series of promotional and educational activities on this year's National Security Education Day on April 15.   It stated that it will spare no effort in explaining to the public the work of the NPC on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong SAR and implementing patriots administering Hong Kong.   The Hong Kong SAR Government said that Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy in handling external affairs under "one country, two systems", and that it welcomes the support from the 14th Five-Year Plan for the city to foster co-operation and exchanges with countries and regions around the world and will make the best use of its overseas and Mainland Economic & Trade Offices to explore more opportunities for developing bilateral and multilateral co-operation.   In summarising the significance of the five-year plan to Hong Kong, Mrs Lam said: “As a highly market-oriented city and an international economy underpinned by the rule of law, Hong Kong will proactively become a participant in domestic circulation and a facilitator in international circulation amidst the ‘dual circulation’ development strategy of our country with the support of the 14th Five-Year Plan.   “Hong Kong will take the bay area development as the best entry point to better integrate into the overall development of our country, which will bring continuous impetus to Hong Kong's economy.”
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