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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

Govt to ease social distancing rules

The Government today announced a further relaxation of social distancing measures with a view to relaunching social and economic activities in an orderly manner.   In a press release, the Government explained that following the first stage of relaxation since April 21, the COVID-19 epidemic situation in Hong Kong has remained under control.   As the number of daily new cases has been on a continuous downward trend without a salient sign of rebound, coupled with the fact that Vaccine Pass requirements have been put in place since April 30, it considered that Hong Kong is ready to implement the second stage of relaxation in social distancing measures from May 19 as scheduled, and suitably advance the easing of certain measures from May 5.   Starting on May 5, three social distancing measures will be eased. First, the maximum number of people per table in catering premises will be increased from four to eight.   Second, swimming pools will be reopened, but users must wear masks at all times except when they are exercising or taking a shower. The Leisure & Cultural Services Department will also gradually reopen its gazetted beaches, water sports centres and public swimming pools under its management.   Third, citizens can be mask-free when they visit country parks, while conducting strenuous physical activity in outdoor public places or exercising in outdoor sports premises.   Separately, from May 19, additional social distancing measures will be eased unless there is a substantial rebound or drastic change in the epidemic situation.   Dine-in service hours will be extended to 11.59pm. Bars and pubs can be reopened with service hours up to 1.59am and a maximum of four people per table.   Other scheduled premises that are currently closed, which include bathhouses, party rooms, clubs or nightclubs, karaoke establishments, mahjong-tin kau premises and cruise ships, may reopen.   Also starting May 19, the restriction on the number of people allowed in premises such as cinemas, performance venues, museums, event premises and religious premises will be relaxed to 85% of their capacity. Moreover, patrons will be allowed to eat and drink in cinema houses.   Furthermore, people will not be required to wear masks when they are working out in indoor sports premises and fitness centres that satisfy the air change requirement.   The Government reminds the public that the third stage of the Vaccine Pass, which requires citizens to get the third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before entering specified premises, will be implemented on May 31.
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