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Apr exports value up 1.1%

The value of Hong Kong’s total goods exports increased to $389 billion in April, up 1.1% compared with the same month last year, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   The value of imports of goods rose 2.1% to $425.6 billion for the same period.   A trade deficit of $36.6 billion, or 8.6% of the value of imports, was recorded for the month.   Comparing the three-month period ending April with the preceding three months on a seasonally adjusted basis, the value of total exports decreased 12% while that of imports fell 11.7%.   The Government said epidemic-induced transportation disruptions, though easing somewhat in the latter part of the month, continued to constrain export performance.   It pointed out that exports to the Mainland fell while those to the US and the European Union posted visible growth.   Looking ahead, the global economic outlook has worsened amid rampant inflation in some major economies and monetary policy tightening by respective cen

Serving confinees heart and soul

Claire Frost and her two sons were glad to be outdoors again after staying at Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre for 14 days.   They were close contacts of a COVID-19 patient involved in the URSUS Fitness cluster.   Mrs Frost said government staff tended to her family’s needs during their stay at the facility.   “I think the Government did a good job.   “All the basic necessities were catered for - the three meals a day. If we needed extra toiletries we just rang them and they turned up quickly and all that, there was fruit provided. So it was perfectly sufficient.”   Rochelle Borja and Jayson Cacayorin, who stayed at the centre with their daughter, also checked out on the same day. They praised their accommodation.   Ms Borja said: “I don't know about the other rooms, but our room was very nice and very safe. They gave us fruits, and for the kid, they brought her LEGO toy for her to play.”   “We are happy because we had accommodation like this. If it is in other countries, I think it is not like this,” Mr Cacayorin added.   Eye for detail The quarantine centre located on Lantau Island has 3,500 units. It is managed by the Civil Aid Service, and the Department of Health is responsible for the facility’s medical services.   Daily necessities such as beds, meals and private toilets are provided to those quarantined.   Confinees can even message a WhatsApp hotline to request items ranging from phone charging cables to mini fridges, and even lip balm.   Civil Aid Service Senior Operations & Training Officer Queenie Yung explained the most popular items that have been requested are cup noodles, snacks and drinks.   “If there are over 1,000 confinees in the quarantine centre, maybe there will be 700 calls received every day,” she said.   To make the quarantine experience more family-friendly, she pointed out that those who are under quarantine can request baby cribs, milk powder and bottle sterilisers, along with toys and coloured pencils.   She added that the furniture in barrier-free access rooms, such as tables and beds, have rounded edges.   The Government will also ensure that bigger families can be quarantined together.   “If there’s a family, then the family members will be put into the same quarantine facility,” Centre for Health Protection Quarantine Centre Task Force Commander Chan Kwok-kee said.   “Depending on the family size, we have some facilities at the quarantine centre at Lei Yue Mun Park & Holiday Village that can accommodate up to eight people. Even with big families, we can allocate facilities to them.”   Peace of mind Apart from physical needs, the Government is also fully aware that people who have been removed from the comfort of their own homes and placed in quarantine will most likely be anxious.   Department of Health Senior Medical & Health Officer Dr Kong Che-wan said many of the confinees do not have a clear idea of what will happen once they enter the facility.   “They have tremendous concerns about their health status, in particular related to COVID-19.   “So for most of the patients of the cases, we would like to see them and talk to them. We would introduce them to the surveillance programme to make sure they know what is exactly happening, the collection of the deep throat saliva specimen - how we do that, when we would do that - and then we will let them know the result later on in order to be able to reassure them about their health status.”   Dr Kong said the department’s staff stationed at Penny’s Bay will call those under quarantine daily to monitor their health.   A team of nurses, nutritionists, physiotherapists and optometrists also stand ready to answer their enquiries.   Ms Borja and Mr Cacayorin recalled that the daily calls they received had given them peace of mind.   “They always checked our body temperature to ensure we were in good health and also they always called us to ask if we felt something, some symptoms. They always asked us for updates,” said Ms Borja.   Mr Cacayorin added: “We stayed here for 14 days but we didn’t see any problems and we didn’t feel nervous.”
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Railway settlement exceeds limit

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