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Artificial island study set

The Government today awarded a consultancy agreement for the study on the artificial islands in the Central Waters to Ove Arup & Partners Hong Kong with a contract value of about $220 million.   The Civil Engineering & Development Department said the agreement mainly comprises a detailed planning and engineering study for the 1,000-hectare artificial islands around Kau Yi Chau.   There will also be a feasibility study on the priority road link and the priority rail link connecting the artificial islands.   The study is scheduled to start tomorrow for completion within 42 months.   The artificial islands in the Central Waters is one of the initiatives to increase land supply under the Lantau Tomorrow Vision announced by the Chief Executive in her 2018 Policy Address.   The drive aims to alleviate the acute shortage of land in the medium-to-long run, and to meet Hong Kong’s long-term housing, social and economic development needs. http://dlvr.it/S1lyqs

Cruise travel queries answered

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau said exceptional measures would need to be taken, by both cruise operators as well as patrons, before cruise travel can resume.   Mr Yau made the remarks while fielding questions about taking “cruises to nowhere” and incentives for COVID-19 vaccination at a media session after attending a Legislative Council meeting today.   He said: “Given the global pandemic situation and some unhappy incidents where outbreaks happened in cruise lines, I think the public or the operators will be exceptionally cautious in resuming any form of cruise travel.   “But having said that, there are examples of cruises departing from the port, going out to the high seas and returning without calling on any ports, thereby eliminating any chance of getting the virus from another place.”   Mr Yau explained that while the “cruise to nowhere” idea is an area of compromise, extraordinary arrangements would need to be carried out beforehand to ensure the safety of everyone involved.   “There are exceptional measures that would need to be taken both by the operators as well as the patrons to make sure that this is a safe journey worth taking, as we are also aware that the public have been stranded for quite a long time in the case of outbreaks.   “Some people say this kind of short cruise resembles staycations where people stay in hotels. If sufficient precautions are taken and if crew members fulfil all the quarantine, testing as well as vaccination requirements, would it be a safe start for selected few to have this limited short cruise?   “Of course, there should be extra protections for patrons, they also need to do the vaccination, which, as I said, is becoming a new norm for any resumption of travelling in the long term. Let’s start preparing ourselves.”   Mr Yau added that the Government would welcome incentives proposed by the private or commercial sectors to boost vaccination.   “Vaccination does provide a very strong protection for individuals and the community at large, minimising a public health hazard.   “The Government will be happy to see any incentives by individuals or enterprises to help this campaign of making people realise that it is for the good of all the community.”
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