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CE begins visit to Xi'an

Chief Executive Carrie Lam left Chongqing for Xi'an today and began her visit programme in Shaanxi Province.   After arriving in Xi'an, she met Shaanxi Governor Zhao Yide and attended a lunch he hosted.   Mrs Lam said she was pleased to visit Shaanxi for the first time as Chief Executive and congratulated Shaanxi on the successful hosting of the 14th National Games.   She expressed hope that Shaanxi would share its valuable experience, enabling the governments of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Guangdong Province and the Macau SAR to do a good job in hosting the 15th National Games in 2025.   Noting that Shaanxi is a key link for the nation's Belt & Road Initiative with its rich cultural history, the Chief Executive said the two places can build on the close trade and economic ties to enhance collaboration to contribute to the initiative and promote arts and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world.   She added that the Hong Kong

Catering premises flexibility explained

The Food & Environmental Hygiene Department today announced that catering premises may change their modes of operation according to their needs under the prerequisite of fulfilling the vaccine bubble principle.   It said the Government will gazette the directions and specifications under the Prevention & Control of Disease (Requirements & Directions) (Business & Premises) Regulation Cap 599F to give catering premises the flexibility to change their modes of operation according to the requirement in the remaining days of the current cycle of this round of social distancing measures.   The relevant directions and specifications will take effect from May 6 to 12.   Except for bars or pubs which are subject to other requirements, all catering businesses must operate according to one or more modes of operation.   The department explained that the Government noticed that some catering premises were unable to choose type C or D mode of operation at the start of the cycle on April 29 as their staff were unable to receive vaccination in time.   It added that the Government understands that some operators hope to change their modes operation once their staff receive vaccination and therefore accepts the trade’s views on handling the situation flexibly.   According to the regulation’s latest directions, catering premises must display a notice showing the new mode of operation before the change can take effect.   The department reminded catering premises under the type C or D mode of operation that they must register relevant information like their mode of operation and number of staff who have completed or are unsuitable to receive COVID-19 vaccination on its vaccine bubble webpage.   Such premises must also display a floor plan according to specified specifications at its entrance for differentiating and identifying different designated zones. The floor plan may be changed from time to time based on operational needs, but will take effect only after it has been displayed.   The department noted that it will add a tab showing frequently asked questions and answers on the thematic webpage to help the trade and the public understand the operational details.   Furthermore, a scanning app developed by the Government, QR Code Verification Scanner, is now available for download via various smart phone operating systems. Operators of premises may use the app to verify the authenticity of the QR codes of their customers’ COVID-19 vaccination or test records.   The department also reminded catering business operators that according to the directions under Cap 599F, for catering business staff undergoing a polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test for COVID-19, the specimens collected must be through combined nasal and throat swabs.   The staff concerned can make use of the 21 community testing centres and mobile specimen collection stations across the city for testing.
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