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Vaccine priority groups expanded

The Government today expanded the scope of priority groups to cover seven categories of people who have greater risk of exposure to COVID-19 and risk of infection.   Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip told reporters the move was made given the fact that the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme has been running smoothly since its launch on February 26 and taking into account the supply of vaccines and the programme’s progress.   The seven categories of people include staff of premises that serve food and beverages, markets, supermarkets, convenience stores, couriers and takeaway delivery including food delivery.   It also comprise staff of local public transport service operators, registered construction workers and property management such as security guards and cleaning and security personnel.   The remaining categories include teachers and school staff, employees in the tourism industry and staff of scheduled premises under the Prevention & Control of Disease (Requirem

Land exchange approved

The Chief Executive in Council has given approval to the proposed non-in-situ land exchange in Sha Lo Tung (SLT) for long-term conservation, making available over 50 hectares.   SLT ranks second among the 12 priority sites requiring enhanced conservation under the New Nature Conservation Policy, behind only the internationally important wetlands in Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay.   For its long-term conservation, the Chief Executive in Council gave in-principle agreement in 2017 to grant a piece of land at the Shuen Wan Restored Landfill in Tai Po to the Sha Lo Tung Development Company for developing a private golf course in exchange for its surrender of the ecologically important private land in SLT to the Government.   The conditions for the land exchange include the payment of a land premium assessed at full market value and the provision of at least 20% of tee-times of the proposed private golf course for public use.   After about three years of negotiation, the Government has largely reached a consensus with the development company on the basic terms and conditions to be incorporated into the proposed non-in-situ land exchange.   The land title checking for the private lots to be surrendered by the company under the established procedures is close to completion. The company completed the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in 2019 for the proposed development of a private golf course at the aforesaid restored landfill in accordance with the EIA Ordinance and was issued an environmental permit.   The Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department or a non-governmental organisation engaged by it will be responsible for the long-term management and conservation of the SLT habitats.   The department will formulate a conservation and management plan for this purpose. It will set up facilities where necessary to facilitate the public’s appreciation and enjoyment of the area's ecology and environment.   Public education activities will be organised to give visitors a better understanding of the biodiversity and cultural heritage there, and raise public awareness of its conservation.   The Government said the proposed non-in-situ land exchange is an exceptional case, noting that the arrangement was made under the consideration of the combination of special circumstances in SLT.   They include the high ecological value of the land and its much needed conservation, the ownership of the private land in SLT largely unified under one entity, the lack of ecologically less sensitive land there for appropriate development by the development company, and the availability of a restored landfill site for a golf course in Tai Po for the non-in-situ land exchange.   The Government will follow up with the Sha Lo Tung Development Company on the latter phase of the land exchange for its implementation.
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