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CS hails new electoral system

The fourth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic has lasted for some time. To our great relief, the number of local confirmed cases has remained at low levels in recent days. The Government's multi-pronged strategy of continuously enhancing our anti-epidemic measures and preventing the importation of cases has proven effective.   Apart from keeping social distancing measures in place and mounting an extensive promotion of testing, we have specifically strengthened the manpower in contact tracing as this is a particularly crucial measure in cutting the chains of viral transmission.   The Department of Health's Contact Tracing Office has redoubled its efforts in speeding up the process of identifying close contacts. Their sterling efforts in contact tracing in the gym cluster last month have significantly helped in suppressing rebounds within a number of days. This was a remarkable success.   For this, I must thank all those who have helped, including some 200 colleagues seconded f

National security funding explained

The Government today said the funding arrangement for the expenditure for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was made in strict accordance with the National Security Law's relevant requirements.   The Government made the remarks in its response to media enquiries.   It pointed out that according to Article 19 of the National Security Law, the Financial Secretary shall, upon the Chief Executive's approval, appropriate from the general revenue a special fund to meet the expenditure for safeguarding national security and approve the establishment of relevant posts, which are not subject to any restrictions in the relevant provisions of the laws in force in the Hong Kong SAR.   The Financial Secretary shall submit an annual report on the control and management of the fund for this purpose to the Legislative Council.   To this end, the Financial Secretary has made a provision of $8 billion to meet the expenditure for safeguarding national security in the next few years and will submit a report to the Legislative Council in due course.   The Government also noted that according to Article 48 of the National Security Law, the Central People's Government (CPG) shall establish in the Hong Kong SAR an office for safeguarding national security.   The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the CPG in the Hong Kong SAR shall perform its mandate for safeguarding national security and exercise relevant powers in accordance with the law.   Additionally, Article 51 of the law stipulates that the office shall be funded by the CPG.   As such, the provision of $8 billion has nothing to do with the office's expenditure, the Government said.   It added that according to Article 14 of the National Security Law, no institution, organisation or individual in the Hong Kong SAR shall interfere with the work of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Hong Kong SAR, and information relating to the committee's work shall not be subject to disclosure. Therefore, no further information regarding the fund will be provided.
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