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Over 3.1k virus cases identified

The Centre for Health Protection today said it is investigating 3,172 additional locally acquired COVID-19 cases, of which 449 were identified through nucleic acid tests and 2,723 via rapid antigen tests.   Separately, 111 imported cases were detected.   Furthermore, seven residential care homes for the elderly and five for disabled people logged 13 cases involving their residents.   The Hospital Authority reported that 20 patients passed away in public hospitals. According to a preliminary analysis, the cause of death for nine patients was related to COVID-19, while that of the remaining 11 patients was unrelated.   It also registered eight more critical cases, bringing the number of patients in critical condition to 93.   Separately, to align with the Government’s cancellation of issuing isolation orders from tomorrow, the authority will, starting from the same day, announce at 8.30am and 1pm the information of general out-patient clinics (GOPC) quota reserved for COVID-19

Euro trade reps briefed

Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau today updated the European Union (EU) trade commissioners and representatives of European chambers of commerce in Hong Kong on the city's business outlook and initiatives related to commerce and trade in the 2021 Policy Address.   At a business breakfast organised by the European Union Office to Hong Kong & Macao today, Mr Yau said that the EU is one of Hong Kong's largest trading partners in goods and services and has established close trade relations with Hong Kong over the years.   He noted that Hong Kong is a free and open economy with a robust legal system and a highly internationalised business environment.   Mr Yau added that being an ideal gateway for business and investment on the Mainland and the Asia Pacific region, Hong Kong will continue to strive to help businesses, both local and international, grasp the tremendous opportunities arising from the development of the Mainland as well as its integration with the region and the global market.   He cited the results of the two latest annual surveys conducted by Invest Hong Kong and the Census & Statistics Department to demonstrate the vibrant business environment of Hong Kong.   The number of business operations in Hong Kong with parent companies overseas or on the Mainland reached 9,049 and the number of startups in Hong Kong was 3,755 in 2021, both reaching record highs.   Mr Yau noted that these figures demonstrate fully that despite the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, Hong Kong remains an ideal place for companies to set up or expand their businesses, as well as for startups to flourish.   He also pointed out that Hong Kong's trade performance displayed resilience despite the COVID-19 epidemic, with Hong Kong's global ranking in terms of total merchandise trade value rinsing to sixth place last year.   Benefitting from stable supply chains maintained through effective control of the epidemic on the Mainland, the value of Hong Kong's total merchandise trade has rebounded since the fourth quarter of last year and hit a record high of $6.5099 trillion for the first eight months of this year, Mr Yau said.   He also highlighted the support measures for the convention and exhibition (C&E) industry in the Policy Address.   The validity period of the Convention & Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme has been extended for six months to the end of 2022. Funds have also been allocated under the scheme to provide one-off immediate relief to eligible private exhibition organisers.   In the long run, the Government will expand C&E facilities.
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