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Policy Address measures highlighted

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau today briefed members of the Trade & Industry Advisory Board on initiatives related to commerce and trade in the 2021 Policy Address.   Mr Yau said the Policy Address focuses on integration into national development and states that the developments of Hong Kong and the nation are closely related.   While the nation is the major growth engine and driving force for the global economy, the 14th Five-Year Plan, the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the Qianhai plan, the economic development pattern of not only greater domestic circulation but also domestic and international dual circulation, as well as the Belt & Road Initiative have brought unlimited opportunities for enterprises and professional services providers in Hong Kong.   The city must seize these opportunities and leverage its advantages, Mr Yau noted.   During the meeting, the commerce chief stressed that Hong

Infection control at gyms tightened

The Government today announced that it will tighten infection control measures in fitness centres from March 12 for a period of six days till March 17.   People in the fitness centres will be required to wear a mask at all times, except when having a shower or consuming food or drink at a table in catering premises. Other requirements currently in place will remain unchanged.   The Food & Health Bureau explained that in view of the recent large-scale coronavirus outbreak in fitness centres, it had to tighten infection control measures with immediate effect to contain the COVID-19 epidemic, in particular reinstating the mask-on requirement.   In all circumstances, particularly in an indoor setting, not wearing a mask is a high-risk behaviour and is prone to virus infection or transmission.   The bureau also pointed out that the first case of the fitness centre cluster was detected through regular testing required under the Prevention & Control of Disease (Requirements & Directions) (Business & Premises) Regulation.   It stated that many of the confirmed cases in this cluster were in good health all along and did not show any symptoms when they were confirmed positive for COVID-19.   This demonstrated that high-risk groups such as staff of fitness centres and other scheduled premises who have frequent contact with others should undergo regular testing in order to break the transmission chain in the community successfully.   The Government announced earlier that all staff of scheduled premises, including those of fitness centres, were included as a vaccination priority group under the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.   Relevant staff are urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible as a higher proportion of people receiving vaccination in the community will strengthen the control of the epidemic situation, thus creating the conditions for relaxing social distancing measures.   The bureau appealed to fitness centres to strictly comply with the requirements, including arranging for their staff to undergo testing once every 14 days. They can make an appointment for free testing at a community testing centre.   The Government emphasised that it will closely monitor the epidemic development and the compliance situation of infection control measures by fitness centres.   It added that if necessary, it would not exclude the possibility of adopting more stringent measures to contain the epidemic, including requiring fitness centre staff to undergo testing at more frequent intervals or the closure of all fitness centres.   Managers of fitness centres who contravene the statutory requirements under the regulation are subject to a maximum fine of $50,000 and six months’ imprisonment.
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