14th January 2022 – (Hong Kong) Chief Executive Carrie Lam held a press conference at 6pm today and said that today is the 1st month of 2022, two years after anti-epidemic work has been implemented in Hong Kong. She described the anti-epidemic work as a saving grace, and it was well controlled. After several waves of epidemics, Hong Kong is now entering the fifth wave of the epidemic, it will be well controlled and there are not many local infection cases so far.
The Hong Kong government tightened social distancing measures last Friday (7th) until the 20th of this month. In addition to ban on dine-in services from 6m at restaurants, 15 types of scheduled places including bars, beauty salons, clubs, cruise ships and party rooms must be closed. The Hong Kong government announced today (14th) that since the epidemic is still under control and the risk of outbreak is still there, it has decided to extend the relevant measures for an additional 14 days until the 3rd day of next month (the third day of the Lunar New Year). In addition, local tours and cruise-to-nowhere will continue to be suspended. As for residential homes and hospitals, visits have also been suspended, and the ban on gatherings of four people and above is still in place.
Large-scale events will be cancelled, including New Year’s Eve Flower Market, Chinese New Year Market, and HKTB events.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam added that after the fourth day of the Lunar New Year, if there is no obvious rebound and there is continued outbreak of the epidemic, the suspension of business of scheduled premises will be relaxed, but the “vaccine bubble” must be implemented before 24th February, that is, employees and customers must received at least 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
The Hong Kong government announced today (14th) the launch of the fifth round of the “Anti-epidemic Fund”. It is expected that most of the funding measures will start accepting applications next week, and the government will strive to disburse subsidies around the Lunar New Year, with a total commitment of approximately HK$3.57 billion. The amount is half of the previous round.
Lam said recently that the fifth round of the Anti-epidemic Fund is divided into two parts, including industries affected by the tightened epidemic prevention measures, such as the 15 categories of scheduled premises, catering premises restaurants and industries that have been in a frozen state, such as tourism . She pointed out that the new round of anti-epidemic fund will be based on the previous round, but since the closing time is different from the previous one, the amount of subsidies is expected to be different. The first wave of the COVID-10 epidemic broke out in Hong Kong in early February 2020. The Hong Kong government launched a number of epidemic prevention measures, including the closure of many ports on 5th February. The first round of anti-epidemic fund was approved by the Legislative Council during the same period, involving a total of 30 billion Hong Kong dollars providing subsidies to various industries including retail, transportation, exhibitions, hotels, travel agencies, etc.
In April of 2020, the government implemented tighter social distancing measures, which required the closure of many premises and establishments. The government then launched the second round of subsidies involving HK$137.5 billion to increase the beneficiary industries, such as hobby class tutors and real estate agents. Then in September and December 2020, the third and fourth waves of the epidemic occurred again in Hong Kong, including the emergence of “singing and dancing cluster”, “construction site cluster” and “fitness centre cluster”, etc. As social distancing measures are tightened, the Hong Kong government launched the third and fourth rounds of anti-epidemic funds, involving HK$24 billion and HK$6.4 billion respectively. Last year, due to the easing of the epidemic in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong government did not provide further fund support.