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Social distancing measures extended

The Government today announced that social distancing measures currently in place will be maintained until May 26.   The Food & Health Bureau said the Government relaxed certain restrictions with the vaccine bubble as the basis on April 29, with a view to responding to the aspirations of various trades and the public to resume normal daily lives as soon as possible.   It added that the implementation of the first phase of measures under the vaccine bubble is generally in order.   The bureau explained that to allow the relevant operators of premises and the general public to get used to the relevant measures, the Government will continue to maintain the existing restrictions applicable to catering business premises and scheduled premises, as well as the requirements for group gatherings and mask wearing. http://dlvr.it/RzXrgk

FS expects strong GDP growth

Financial Secretary Paul Chan welcomed the passage of the Appropriation Bill 2021, adding that he expected Hong Kong to register a relatively strong, positive GDP growth in the first quarter.   Meeting the media after the bill was passed by the Legislative Council today, Mr Chan noted that the advance estimates on GDP for the first quarter will be published next week.   He expected a rebound in the GDP figure due to the improved COVID-19 pandemic situation and strong recovery in the external economic environment.   “We expect there would be pretty strong GDP growth because of the fact that the comparison base last year is very low. We registered a contraction of 9% in last year’s first quarter.   “Also, since the middle of last year, although on a year-over-year basis the GDP continued to contract, on the basis of quarter-to-quarter GDP comparison we have seen gradual improvement since the third quarter.   “Given that the pandemic situation now in Hong Kong is pretty much under control - although we still need to be very vigilant - and considering the fact that the external economic environment is also recovering very strongly, no matter if it is in the Mainland, the US or other Asian countries, we are confident that with the impressive improvement on the trade side and the gradual recovery on domestic consumption, the first quarter of this year will see a relatively strong, positive GDP growth.”
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