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HK logs 3.3k COVID-19 cases

The Centre for Health Protection today said it is investigating 3,362 additional locally acquired COVID-19 cases, of which 493 were identified through nucleic acid tests and 2,869 via rapid antigen tests.   Separately, 118 imported cases were detected.   Furthermore, seven residential care homes for the elderly and one for disabled people logged nine cases involving their residents.   The Hospital Authority reported that 33 patients passed away in public hospitals. According to a preliminary analysis, the cause of death for 13 patients was related to COVID-19, while that of the remaining 20 patients was unrelated.   It also registered six more critical cases, bringing the number of patients in critical condition to 99.   As there were positive sewage test results with relatively high viral loads in several areas of Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Kowloon City districts, the respective district offices will distribute COVID-19 rapid test kits to relevant residents as well as cleaning

Budget helps ease people’s burden

Chief Executive Carrie Lam today said she supports the measures in the 2021-22 Budget aiming at easing the financial burden on people and businesses.   Mrs Lam said the Financial Secretary delivered the Budget at a critical time for Hong Kong as the city strives to emerge from the unprecedented financial, economic and social challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, while maintaining fiscal stability.        “I support the counter-cyclical measures announced in the Budget aiming at easing the financial burden on people and businesses while ensuring that essential public services as well as infrastructure development are maintained.”   She noted that apart from providing relief in terms of tax and rates, and extra allowances for social security and working family allowance recipients, the Budget proposed to issue $5,000 electronic consumption vouchers to Hong Kong permanent residents and new arrivals aged 18 and above.   “I believe the impact of this initiative will be felt throughout the community during these testing times, and help stimulate local consumption which has been severely dampened because of the epidemic.”        Mrs Lam also said the goal of Hong Kong achieving carbon neutrality before 2050 announced in the 2020 Policy Address has been given due regard in the Budget, adding that the continued issue of green bonds and promotion of new energy transportation will go a long way towards that objective.   The Financial Secretary has placed green and sustainable finance and the digital economy at the forefront of Hong Kong's continued pursuit to consolidate and strengthen its role as an international financial centre with the full support of the central government, she said.        The Chief Executive added the Budget has put forward effective measures to ensure prudence in public finance, which will enhance confidence in Hong Kong's fiscal strength and is conducive to maintaining the city’s monetary stability.   Mrs Lam appealed to members of the Legislative Council and society to support the 2021-22 Budget proposals to facilitate their early implementation.  
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