Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, USA
Hong Kong

News Release - March 2020

HKSAR Government sends second batch of flights to bring back Hong Kong residents stranded in Hubei
March 25, 2020 - The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government today arranged the second batch of chartered flights to bring back Hong Kong residents stranded in Hubei Province to Hong Kong. The first two chartered flights successfully brought back 281 Hong Kong residents in Hubei Province.

Centre for Health Protection to further extend Enhanced Laboratory Surveillance Program
March 24, 2020 -
A spokesman for the Department of Health (DH) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today announced that the Centre for Health Protection will further extend its Enhanced Laboratory Surveillance Programme, which provides a free testing service for COVID-19, to cover asymptomatic inbound travellers arriving from the United Kingdom, other countries in Europe and the United States by phases starting March 25, with an aim of identifying cases of COVID-19 early in order to minimize the risk of community transmission.

Appointment of the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal
March 24, 2020 - Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, has accepted the recommendation of the Judicial Officers Recommendation Commission (JORC) on the appointment of the Honourable Mr Justice Andrew Cheung Kui-nung (Mr Justice Cheung), Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal, as the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal with effect from January 11, 2021. Subject to the endorsement of the Legislative Council, the Chief Executive will make the appointment under Article 88 of the Basic Law.

Government announces enhancements to anti-epidemic measures in four aspects
March 24, 2020 - With a large number of Hong Kong residents returning from overseas countries in which the COVID-19 epidemic situation has been increasingly severe recently, the number of imported cases in Hong Kong has surged rapidly and some clusters with community-acquired cases have been detected. After consideration by major members of the Steering Committee cum Command Centre chaired by the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, enhancements were announced by Mrs Lam yesterday (March 23) for the anti-epidemic measures in four aspects, responding quickly to the latest developments of the disease.

Relief measures announced for airport community
March 23, 2020 - The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) jointly announced today a HK$1 billion (US$128 million) package of relief measures for the aviation industry in view of the sustained challenges the industry has to face due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Consumer Price Indices for February 2020
March 23, 2020 - The Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government released today the Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures for February 2020. According to the Composite CPI, overall consumer prices rose by 2.2% in February 2020 over the same month a year earlier, larger than the corresponding increase (1.4%) in January 2020. The larger increase in the Composite CPI in February was related to fading out of the effect of the Government’s payment of public housing rentals and waiver of two-thirds of rent for tenants of Group B estates by Hong Kong Housing Society in January 2020.

Government announces enhanced measures for disease control
March 22, 2020 - In response to the worsening situation of the novel coronavirus infection due to the rapid increase in the number of imported cases from abroad, major members of the Steering Committee cum Command Centre chaired by the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, yesterday (March 21) met the four experts of the expert advisory panel for the second time this week. They decided after the meeting to implement a number of enhanced measures to reduce the risk of a large-scale outbreak in the community.

HKSAR Government adjusts operation plan on second batch of chartered flights to bring back Hong Kong people stranded in Hubei
March 21, 2020 - The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government today (March 21) announced that it would commission a total of four chartered flights on March 25 and 26 to bring back Hong Kong residents stranded in Hubei. There will also be adjustments to the operational plan, including requiring Hong Kong residents who return from other areas in Hubei Province except Wuhan be put under home quarantine for 14 days, and excluding the new assistance cases of Wuhan in the operation.

Government approves first two production lines under Local Mask Production Subsidy Scheme
March 20, 2020 - The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government announced today that it has approved the first two production lines under the Local Mask Production Subsidy Scheme.

External Merchandise Trade in January 2020
March 19, 2020 - Further to the external merchandise trade statistics in value terms for January 2020 released earlier on, the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government released today the volume and price statistics of external merchandise trade for that month.

Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation gazetted
March 18, 2020 - The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government published in the Gazette today the Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation (Cap. 599E).  The Regulation introduces a resolute and rigorous measure to combat the global outbreak of the COVID-19 by imposing compulsory quarantine orders on all persons arriving from all places outside China. The Regulation will commence at 0.00am on March 19 and take effect for three months.

Import of poultry meat and products from Union County and Anson County, North Carolina suspended
March 18, 2020 - Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department announced today that in view of a notification from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) about outbreaks of low pathogenic H7N3 avian influenza in the Union County and the Anson County of the State of North Carolina in the United States (US), the CFS has instructed the trade to suspend the import of poultry meat and products, including poultry eggs, from the areas with immediate effect to protect public health in Hong Kong.

Health quarantine arrangements on inbound travellers from overseas further extended
March 17, 2020 - Following the Security Bureau’s announcement today that in view of the health risks arising from the persistent and rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases globally, the Red Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) has been issued on all overseas countries/territories based on public health considerations, the Department of Health (DH) will extend health quarantine arrangements on inbound travellers arriving from all countries/territories accordingly and demand them to undergo compulsory quarantine.

Government issues Red Outbound Travel Alert on all overseas countries/territories
March 17, 2020 - In view of the health risks arising from the persistent and rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases globally, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today has decided to issue the Red Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) on all overseas countries/territories based on public health considerations.

Hong Kong rated as world’s second freest economy
March 17, 2020 - Hong Kong was ranked number two in the 2020 Index of Economic Freedom, published by the Heritage Foundation (the Foundation). Hong Kong attained high scores of 90 or above in seven out of 12 components adopted for measuring economic freedom, though Hong Kong's overall score decreased by 1.1 points from the previous year due primarily to a decline in the “Investment Freedom” score, which was mainly due to security issues arising from the social unrest in the latter half of 2019.  

Government adopts multi-tech approach to support home quarantine
March 16, 2020 - A spokesman for the Innovation and Technology Bureau said today that the Government is adopting a multi-tech approach in home quarantine support. With the electronic wristbands developed by the Logistics and Supply Chain MultiTech R&D Centre (LSCM) as a key solution, other technology solutions are also being introduced to complement the current monitoring system in dealing with the evolving epidemic.

HKMA’s Response to US Fed’s Rate Cut
March 16, 2020 - The Federal Open Market Committee of the United States Federal Reserve announced last night (March 15, US time) to adjust downward the target range for the US federal funds rate by 100 basis points to 0-0.25 per cent. In light of the Fed’s decision, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) also adjusted downward the Base Rate on March 16. The Base Rate is set at 0.86 per cent today according to a pre-set formula. 

Government issues Red Outbound Travel Alert on Ireland, United Kingdom and United States
March 15, 2020 - In view of the health risks arising from the persistent and rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today has decided to issue the Red Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) on the aforesaid countries based on public health considerations.

Government issues Red Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) on certain European countries (Schengen Area) and highlights public health risks under Red OTA on Egypt
March 13, 2020 - In view of the health risks arising from the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Europe, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government today issued the Red Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) on certain European countries (Schengen Area), including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Principality of Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Republic of Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Besides, the Government alerted the public about the outbreak of COVID-19 cases and associated health risks in Egypt under the Red OTA currently in force.

Public reminded of health quarantine arrangements on inbound travellers from overseas and urged to pay attention to overseas situation of COVID-19 outbreak
March 12, 2020 - The Department of Health (DH) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today reminded the public that in response to the latest situations of COVID-19, starting from 0.00am on March 14, the DH’s Port Health Division officers will issue quarantine orders under the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation (Cap. 599A) to people arriving in Hong Kong who have been to Italy, France (Bourgogne-Franche-Comte and Grand Est), Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia), Japan (Hokkaido) and Spain (La Rioja, Madrid and Pais Vasco) in the past 14 days, regardless of whether they are Hong Kong residents. They will have to stay in a quarantine centre for quarantine.

Response to US report on human rights
March 12, 2020 - In response to media enquiries, a spokesman for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government today made the following response to the comments contained in the United States Department of State’ 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices relating to the HKSAR:

World Justice Project reaffirms Hong Kong’s position in the Rule of Law Index
March 11, 2020 - The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today acknowledged the Rule of Law Index 2020 released by the World Justice Project, in which Hong Kong maintains its ranking as No. 5 in the East Asia and Pacific region and No. 16 globally.

Hong Kong film “i'm livin’ it” kicks off film festival in Chicago
March 10, 2020 - Acclaimed Hong Kong film “i'm livin’ it” kicked off the 10th season of the Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC) film series in Chicago as the opening night film today (March 10, Chicago time). This North American premiere opened to an enthusiastic full house.

Department of Health to further strengthen health quarantine arrangements on inbound travellers from overseas
March 10, 2020 - Following the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government’s announcement today (March 10) on the Red Outbound Travel Alert issued on the whole of Italy, France (Bourgogne-Franche-Comte and Grand Est), Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia), Japan (Hokkaido) and Spain (La Rioja, Madrid and Pais Vasco) in response to the latest situations of COVID-19, the Department of Health (DH) will also strengthen health quarantine arrangements on inbound travelers arriving from these countries/regions.

Government issues Red Outbound Travel Alert on some regions in France, Germany, Japan and Spain, as well as on Italy
March 10, 2020 - In view of the health risks arising from the outbreak of the COVID-19 in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comte and Grand Est regions in France, the North Rhine-Westphalia region in Germany, Hokkaido in Japan as well as the La Rioja, Madrid and Pais Vasco regions in Spain, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today (March 10) issued the Red Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) on the aforementioned regions. As well, the Government expanded the Red OTA currently in force on Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto regions in Italy to cover the entire country.

Statistics on vessels, port cargo and containers for the fourth quarter of 2019
March 10, 2020 - The Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today (March 10) released the statistics on port cargo and containers for the fourth quarter of 2019.

Hong Kong’s foreign currency reserves at US$446.1 billion
March 6, 2020 - The Hong Kong Monetary Authority announced today that the official foreign currency reserve assets of Hong Kong amounted to US$446.1 billion as at the end of February 2020, compared with US$445.7 billion at end-January 2020.

Department of Health strengthens health declaration measure at Hong Kong International Airport
Public urged to delay non-essential travel outside Hong Kong
March 6, 2020 - The Department of Health (DH) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today announced that starting from 0.00 am on March 8, the health declaration arrangements at the Hong Kong International Airport will be expanded from inbound flights from the Mainland to all flights arriving Hong Kong. All inbound travelers arriving at the Hong Kong International Airport will be required to complete and submit a health declaration form.

First batch of Hong Kong residents stranded in Hubei Province return to Hong Kong safely
March 5, 2020 - The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government today (March 5) arranged two more chartered flights to bring back 225 Hong Kong residents stranded in Hubei Province to Hong Kong. The chartered flights landed in Hong Kong safely at around 4pm and 9pm respectively.

Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s response to US Fed’s rate cut
March 4, 2020 - The United States Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (US Fed FOMC) decided last night (March 3, US time) to adjust downward the target range for the US federal funds rate by 50 basis points to 1-1.25 per cent. In light of the Fed's decision, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) adjusted downward the Base Rate by 50 basis points to 1.50 per cent today (March 4, Hong Kong time) according to a pre-set formula. 

HKSAR Government sends two flights to bring back Hong Kong residents stranded in Hubei Province to Hong Kong
March 4, 2020 - The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government today sent the first batch of chartered flights to Wuhan to bring back Hong Kong residents stranded in Hubei Province to Hong Kong. The first batch of chartered flights landed in Hong Kong at around 5pm and 10pm respectively, and successfully brought back 244 Hong Kong residents in Hubei Province.

Adjustment of the Base Rate
March 4, 2020 - The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced today (March 4) that the Base Rate was adjusted downward by 50 basis points to 1.50 per cent with immediate effect according to a pre-set formula.  The decrease in the Base Rate follows the 50-basis point downward shift in the target range for the US federal funds rate on March 3 (US time).

Government extends funding scopes of Researcher Programme and Postdoctoral Hub
March 3, 2020 - The Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) today announced that, with effect from March 9, the funding scopes of the Researcher Programme and the Postdoctoral Hub will be extended to all technology companies conducting or planning to conduct research and development (R&D) activities in Hong Kong. Eligible companies are welcome to apply for the schemes.

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