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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

Central authorities support leveraged

To press ahead with the implementation work to tackle the aggravating situation of the fifth wave of the epidemic in Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam today assigned different directors of bureaus to take forward various areas of work with the Mainland.   Mrs Lam today held an internal high-level meeting to follow up on the consensus and achievements from the second Mainland-Hong Kong thematic meeting on the COVID-19 epidemic jointly hosted by Chief Secretary John Lee and Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office of the State Council Deputy Director Huang Liuquan.   She appointed the convenors from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government for five task forces to co-ordinate with the representatives of the relevant ministries and commissions of the central authorities.   Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan will be responsible for the task force of epidemiologists, co-ordinating the Department of Health, the Hospital Authority and local experts to liaise with Mainland experts to assist Hong Kong in conducting pathological investigations and analyses.   Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang will be responsible for the task force of enhancing the capability of nucleic acid testing, including the co-ordination of community testing facilities and ancillary work in Hong Kong.   Secretary for Development Michael Wong will be responsible for the task force of co-ordinating and working with the corresponding Mainland authorities to construct community isolation and treatment facilities, including the identification of suitable locations in Hong Kong for providing such facilities.   Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau will be responsible for the task force of ensuring medical supplies, including the co-ordination of the delivery, in an orderly manner, of such anti-epidemic supplies from the Mainland as rapid antigen test kits in large quantities, beds, furniture for isolation and treatment facilities, masks and protective gear to Hong Kong, and the distribution of them to the relevant departments, organisations and residents.   Secretary for Transport & Housing Frank Chan will be responsible for the task force of ensuring other supplies from the Mainland, including the co-ordination of the detailed logistical arrangements for the supply of fresh food, vegetables and daily necessities to Hong Kong.   Chief Secretary John Lee will be responsible for co-ordinating the task forces in drawing up and taking forward concrete measures, reporting to the Chief Executive thereon and holding thematic meetings with the Mainland authorities as and when required.   Mrs Lam emphasised that the central authorities have all along been providing their strongest support for the Hong Kong SAR and she expressed her sincere gratitude to them.   She said since the onset of the fifth wave of the epidemic, the central authorities have conveyed to her on various occasions their care for the Hong Kong people and their full support for the city's anti-epidemic efforts.   The Chief Executive stressed that the Hong Kong SAR Government will spare no effort to implement the strategy of preventing the importation of cases and the spread of the virus in the community in pursuit of dynamic zero infection.   It will leverage the central authorities' guidance based on their experience in fighting the epidemic, as well as their manpower and resource support, to further boost Hong Kong's capability of early identification, early isolation and early treatment of the infected.   With the full support to Hong Kong by the central authorities together with the Governments of Guangdong Province and Shenzhen through the task forces, she believed the measures will curb the epidemic.   Mrs Lam said the Government will start working through the task force with the Mainland as soon as possible to enhance Hong Kong's capabilities of testing and isolation facilities by all means.   Meanwhile, it will implement measures to alleviate the anxieties of those members of the public waiting at home for isolation, including the distribution of information kits, setting up of a designated enquiry hotline and providing online diagnostic services.   The Food & Health Bureau and the Hospital Authority will map out and announce details as soon as possible.   Mrs Lam reaffirmed that the Hong Kong SAR Government will continue to increase vaccination venues, recruit more medical staff to administer vaccination for residents of elderly homes, lower the minimum age for receiving the Sinovac vaccine to three years old and implement the vaccine pass initiative with a view to achieving a vaccination rate of over 90% to strengthen Hong Kong's immune barrier against the epidemic.   She called on members of the public to stay confident and continue to comply with the anti-epidemic measures, go out less, maintain good personal hygiene and take preventive measures to guard against the virus.

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Railway settlement exceeds limit

The construction works of a relocation project in Kowloon have been suspended after a settlement monitoring checkpoint exceeded the limit, the Government said today.   The project relocates supporting operational facilities of Tsim Sha Tsui Fire Station Complex, Fire Services Club and other fire services accommodations to To Wah Road in Kowloon.   The Government explained that the readings recorded in a settlement monitoring checkpoint installed inside the railway tunnel between Kowloon Station and Olympic Station of the MTR Tung Chung Line had reached 20.27mm on September 7. The preset trigger level for works suspension is 20mm.   For the sake of prudence, the Mass Transit Railway Corporation suspended relevant works within the railway protection area on the same day.   The Buildings Department and the Architectural Services Department deployed staff to inspect the affected railway tunnel and confirmed that it is structurally safe.   The Electrical & Mechanical Services