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Social distancing to be relaxed

(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.)   The Government plans to adjust the social distancing measures for restaurants based on staff and customers having been vaccinated against COVID-19 and patrons using the LeaveHomeSafe mobile application.   Chief Executive Carrie Lam made the statement during a press conference today, noting that Hong Kong was entering a new phase in its fight against the virus.   Under the “vaccine bubble”, the number of people allowed to be seated together at one table in restaurants will be increased from four to six, and their dine-in service can be extended from 10pm to midnight on the condition that all staff have been vaccinated and patrons use the LeaveHomeSafe mobile app.   Customers using the LeaveHomeSafe mobile app when entering the eatery would no longer need to fill in their personal information on a paper form.   If all the restaurant staff are fully vaccinated with both doses, plus 14 days for

HK economic outlook positive: FS

Hong Kong’s economy is expected to resume a 3.5% to 5.5% growth in real terms this year, though the progress of economic recovery will hinge on the epidemic’s development.   Unveiling his 2021-22 Budget today, Financial Secretary Paul Chan told lawmakers that the economy will still face significant challenges in the first half of the year as cross-boundary and tourism activities take time to resume normal.   However, he said if people work together to control the epidemic and social stability is maintained, the economic recovery will likely gain a stronger momentum in the second half of the year in tandem with an anticipated rebound in the global economy.   On inflation, he expected external price pressures will remain modest, with the projected headline inflation rate and the underlying inflation rate at 1.6% and 1% this year.   The finance chief said in the medium term, Hong Kong will continue to benefit from the Mainland’s ongoing development and the shift in global economic gravity from West to East.   He predicted Hong Kong’s economy will see an annual average of 3.3% growth in real terms from 2022 to 2025, while the underlying inflation rate will average 2%.
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