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Foreign currency reserves up

Hong Kong's foreign currency reserve assets rose to US$423.2 billion in November from October's US$417.2 billion, the Monetary Authority announced today.   The reserve assets represent over five times the currency in circulation or about 42% of Hong Kong dollar M3.   There were no unsettled foreign exchange contracts at the end of November. http://dlvr.it/Sf21yd

Views sought on plastic bottle plan

The Environmental Protection Department today released a consultation paper on the Producer Responsibility Scheme on Plastic Beverage Containers (PPRS) for the proper management of waste plastic bottles.   The consultation period will last for three months until May 21.   The Government recently announced the Waste Blueprint for Hong Kong 2035, which sets out the strategies, goals and measures to tackle the challenge of waste management, and to promote a circular economy and green living environment.   As one of the key waste reduction measures, the proposed scheme requires stakeholders to share the environmental responsibilities of collecting and treating plastic beverage containers to minimise their impact on the environment, the department said.   In line with the polluter pays principle, the scheme proposed a recycling levy to be collected at the beverage supplier level, including manufacturers and importers, to help recover the operation costs of the scheme.   It has been suggested that certain retail stores selling plastic-bottled beverages serve as collection points so that people can return used plastic beverage containers.   These containers will then be supplied to local recyclers so they can turn them into marketable recycled materials.   Furthermore, the proposed scheme will include rebates to encourage people to return used plastic beverage containers.   The public can submit views through the dedicated website, or by email, post or fax to the department during the consultation period.   Meanwhile, the department has rolled out a one-year Reverse Vending Machine Pilot Scheme to test the application of the machines in recovering plastic beverage containers.   Under the pilot scheme, 60 reverse vending machines will be set up in phases at locations such as public places and government facilities to collect used plastic beverage containers.   The machines provide an instant rebate of $0.1 through e-payment platforms for each plastic beverage container returned. Each e-payment platform account will allow the return of up to 30 plastic beverage containers a day.   The public can also choose to donate the rebate, with no daily limit, to designated charities.   At present, 40 machines are in service, with the remaining 20 to be available soon.   For enquiries and views on the reverse vending machines, call 9488 0277 or send an email.
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124 COVID-19 cases reported

The Centre for Health Protection today said it is investigating 124 additional COVID-19 cases. More cases were detected in Kwai Chung Estate. There are also more than 70 preliminary positive cases.   Among the newly reported cases, 33 are related to Kwai Chung Estate, bringing the total number of positive and preliminary positive cases in the estate to 276.   One more positive case was found after an earlier confirmed case occurred at Glory Court, Tsuen Wan Garden, both of them live in units 5 but on two different floors. The centre has co-ordinated with related government departments and conducted an inspection today.    It was preliminarily considered that vertical transmission of virus via pipes is involved.   The centre will issue quarantine orders to residents of unit 5 on all floors of the building who resided there during the incubation period of the relevant cases and transfer them to a quarantine facility.   As it is possible that virus might be ejected from the open