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SMS sender scheme expanded

The Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) announced today that the SMS Sender Registration Scheme is now open for application by all sectors to further help the public verify the identities of SMS senders, with a view to combatting SMS fraud.   Apart from further opening up the scheme, the OFCA said it welcomes public and private organisations from various industries with a practical need to communicate with customers or clients via SMS to join the scheme.   Under the scheme, only registered senders are able to send SMS messages using their registered SMS sender IDs with the prefix “#”. All other SMS messages with sender IDs containing “#” but not sent by registered senders will be blocked by the telecommunications networks.   As such, the public can easily identify whether an SMS message is received from a registered sender by the prefix “#” in the SMS sender ID.   The OFCA reminds citizens to stay highly vigilant when receiving SMS messages from unknown sender

Flight landing rules tightened

The Government today announced that it will further tighten the criteria of place-specific flight suspension mechanism and prohibit all passenger flights from Nepal from landing in Hong Kong from May 1.   Under the tightened mechanism, the Government will extend the measure to prohibit all passenger flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines from landing in Hong Kong from May 1.   Starting from the same day, Nepal will also be specified as an extremely high-risk place under the Prevention & Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances & Travellers) Regulation to restrict people who have stayed in the four places from boarding for Hong Kong.   The Government explained that it implemented the mechanism on April 14.   Under it, if a total of five or more passengers among all flights from the same place, regardless of airline, were confirmed by arrival tests for COVID-19 with the N501Y mutant strain within a seven-day period, the Government would invoke the regulation to prohibit all passenger flights from that place from landing in Hong Kong for 14 days, and would specify that place as an extremely high-risk place to restrict people who have stayed there for more than two hours from boarding passenger flights for Hong Kong for 14 days.   In view of the continually unstable global epidemic situation, the Government decided to introduce a new criterion having considered the actual operation of the mechanism.   If a total of 10 or more passengers were confirmed positive by any tests, including tests conducted during quarantine, with the N501Y mutant strain or relevant virus mutation within a seven-day period, the flight suspension mechanism would also be triggered.   As a measure to manage the flight resumption arrangements more cautiously under the mechanism, the Government will conduct risk assessments every two weeks for comprehensive reviews of relevant factors such as the epidemic situation of the relevant places, vaccination rate, and the prevalence of new virus variants before determining whether it is appropriate to remove the flight suspension.   Due to the need to review the epidemic situation of the place concerned, the flight suspension mechanism will not be lifted automatically.
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