Carrie Lam thanks Central government for supporting the community testing programme, Anti-epidemic Fund 3.0 and new social distancing measures to be announced this afternoon


15th September 2020 – (Hong Kong) The 14-day Universal Community Testing Programme (UCTP) officially ended yesterday (14th). As of 8pm last night, a total of about 1.78 million specimens have been tested. Chief Executive Carrie Lam met with reporters before attending the executive meeting this morning (15th).

Carrie Lam said that participating in the UCTP gave her family and colleagues peace of mind, and also contributed to the fight against the epidemic. She thanked more than 6,000 medical staff and 4,000 civil servants for their support work. She was pleased that the public believed that the staff were professional, and the UCTP had low risk of spreading the virus. She said that the most important thing is to thank the central government for its support of carrying out 100,000 tests every day to improve Hong Kong’s testing capabilities in a short time, otherwise the effectiveness of the testing programme would be difficult to achieve.

She pointed out that the relevant work was valued by the central leadership and coordinated by the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office. Many central ministries and commissions including the Health Commission and the Liaison Office of the Hong Kong Central Committee provided assistance. She also praised the hard work of the mainland support team, which moved the public very much.

Regarding the issue of 12 Hong Kong citizens being detained, Lam said that the nature of the incident was the crime of someone crossing the border illegally. It was a matter of Mainland jurisdiction and was handled by the Mainland very appropriately. Lam pointed out that only one of the Hong Kong residents was involved in violating the Hong Kong National Security Law, and emphasised the need to look at the case squarely. Lam pointed out that regarding follow-up issues such as the effectiveness and funding of UCTP, she understood that the media has a lot of information to understand, but because the testing process is still not completed, a press conference will be held this afternoon to further explain the details. In addition, the press conference in the afternoon will also announce the next phase, the new social distancing measures starting on the 18th of this month.

In addition, the government will announce the contents of the Anti-epidemic Fund 3.0 this afternoon. Lam said that most of the work of the first and second rounds of the fund has been carried out smoothly. Among them, the second phase of the Employment Support Scheme (ESS) received more than 158,000 employers’ applications, the total number is 6% less than the first phase, but in fact, some employers might not understand the eligibility of the application at the beginning, and hence they were not approved.

Among the employers who applied for the second term of the ESS, there were 150,145 employers, and the previous applications were also approved. She hopes that colleagues in relevant departments can expedite the approval of the current ESS, so that the funds can be sent to employers in need as soon as possible.