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2 jab centres to provide BioNTech

The public can make reservations from tomorrow to receive free BioNTech jabs at the community vaccination centres (CVCs) at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Sports Centre and Boundary Street Sports Centre, the Government announced today.   The two CVCs will provide vaccination services from January 26, bringing the number of such centres to 14.   The Government said there are also more vaccination booths or staff members at vaccination venues. The current vaccination capacity has increased by 77% from the beginning of the month, reaching 1.77 million doses a month or nearly 60,000 doses a day.   Separately, all CVCs will be closed during the Lunar New Year from January 31 to February 2.   Except for the two CVCs at private hospitals which will be closed for one more day, CVCs will provide normal services on the third day of the Lunar New Year on February 3.   Apart from going to the CVCs, eligible people can also receive free COVID-19 vaccination through 25 Hospital Authority genera

Faster online payment progresses

The Government today said it is examining the feasibility of accepting online payments for government services through the Faster Payment System (FPS) while at least seven of its departments have started preparatory work.   Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Christopher Hui told lawmakers in the Legislative Council today that such an initiative, expected to be rolled out by phases in 2022, will cover various services frequently used by the public, including applications for licences and certificates, booking and registration of services.   He pointed out that the Government started accepting bill payment via FPS QR codes in November 2019.   Currently, bills issued by the Inland Revenue Department, the Rating & Valuation Department and the Water Supplies Department, as well as general demand notes issued by the Government are printed with FPS QR codes.   As of the end of December last year, more than 1.76 million bill payments via the FPS were recorded, involving an amount of over $2.1 billion.   Additionally, FPS QR code devices have been available for use at designated counters and self-help kiosks of the Companies Registry, the Immigration Department, the Official Receiver's Office and the Transport Department since last December.   A total of seven government departments now accept payments through the FPS, Mr Hui noted.   He said the Government will keep in view market developments and continue to promote the wider use of electronic payment through appropriate financial technology infrastructure and regulations, adding that various departments will study the feasibility of extending FPS payment functions to their bills.   As the use of contactless payment is conducive to reducing the virus transmission risk in markets, the Government launched a subsidy scheme in October last year to provide a subsidy to tenants of market stalls at a flat rate of $5,000 for each stall to meet initial set-up costs as well as service and other fees related to the provision of at least one contactless payment means.   The Food & Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) has received over 3,500 applications since the scheme's launch. Some tenants have also provided contactless payment means on their own without applying for the subsidies.   Noting that a series of promotional activities for tenants of the FEHD's market stalls and on-site explanations have been conducted, Mr Hui said the Government will conduct a publicity drive focusing on customers' needs to encourage market stall tenants to use contactless payment means for transactions through market forces.

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