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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

Virus testing services enhanced

The Government today said the supply of COVID-19 testing services is being further enhanced to cope with the increasing demand for testing in order to meet anti-epidemic goals and facilitate the public.   The move was made having regard to the recent higher risk of transmission and infection in different premises or groups and the implementation of strengthened anti-epidemic measures for the resumption of economic and social activities.   Various groups can undergo testing through the free testing service and other channels.   At present, employees of scheduled premises and catering businesses, construction site workers, school staff, as well as local residents and staff subject to compulsory testing may receive free testing at community testing centres.   The number of tests available for appointments at community testing centres has been greatly increased to over 32,000 per day.   The appointment rate of the city's 19 community testing centres for the next seven days is only about 30%, with plenty of places available to meet the demand.   Moreover, about 20 mobile specimen collection stations are in service to provide free testing to the public. Some of them are dedicated to providing services to staff in catering businesses and scheduled premises under the Prevention & Control of Disease (Requirements & Directions) (Business & Premises) Regulation only.   The testing capacity should be sufficient to meet the demand of the relevant sectors. Staff from these sectors may get tested for free at community testing centres and mobile specimen collection stations in various districts.   In addition, they may also undergo testing through other channels, including obtaining deep throat saliva (DTS) collection packs at post offices, MTR stations or designated Hospital Authority (HA) general outpatient clinics, and return the DTS specimen to one of the more than 80 designated collection points.   Over the past few weeks, the Government has distributed an average of some 60,000 specimen collection packs daily, and the number of specimen bottles collected per day was about 27,000, which is less than half of the amount distributed.   The Government calls on the public and organisations to refrain from collecting more packs than needed so that others in need can also obtain them for testing.       Regarding the prolonged turnaround time of an HA testing contractor caused by an influx of testing demand within a short period of time, according to the concerned laboratory's report, the backlog has been cleared and the turnaround time for testing results has resumed normal to within 48 hours as per the contract requirement.   The Government and HA have increased the number of contractors and streamlined the distribution of the specimen bottles to different contractors. At present, most of the citizens who return the DTS specimen bottles can receive testing results within two to three days.
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