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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

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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