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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

False statements condemned

The Security Bureau today strongly condemned individual organisations for making false statements against the content and legislative purpose of the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2020, distorting facts, deliberately misleading the public and creating fear.   In a statement, it said some organisations have deliberately distorted the provision in the bill which empowers the Secretary for Security to make regulations in relation to the provision of passenger information by carriers as a restriction on Hong Kong residents' right to enter or leave Hong Kong. They have been attempting to spread rumours in emotional and hostile rhetoric, misleading the public with ill intentions and creating conflict in society.   The bureau emphasised that anyone must bear the responsibility of their words and conduct, adding that the public should stay vigilant for misleading and smearing information.   The bill is introduced with a view to more effectively addressing the problems arising from non-refoulement claims that have persisted for years.   There are currently over 13,000 claimants remaining in Hong Kong, with about 99% of claims being unsubstantiated among those determined.   The Government incurred huge public expenditure every year, with an average of around $1 billion per year in recent years.   Some of the claimants have taken up unlawful employment and are even suspected robbery, drug trafficking and wounding offenders. Society and the Legislative Council have raised concerns about the threat to public security posed by such claimants.   The statement pointed out that it is resentful the relevant organisations have turned a blind eye to such serious problems faced by society and ignored the Government's detailed explanatory work in the past, launching malicious attacks on its efforts in tackling the challenging problems that persisted for years with their smearing and shameless tactics.   With regard to the provision to empower the Secretary for Security to make regulations in relation to the provision of passenger information by carriers, the Government again explained that the practice is introduced by the International Civil Aviation Organization.   The Government must fulfil the international obligation under the Convention on International Civil Aviation and implement the Advance Passenger Information system, thereby enhancing international civil aviation safety and facilitating the immigration authorities around the world to implement more effective control.   The bureau noted it is an enabling provision which requires subsidiary legislation to set out the system's operational details with provisions stipulated in more specific terms, after the bill is passed by LegCo and takes effect.   The making of relevant regulations will also require LegCo's scrutiny and passage.   The bureau reiterated that Hong Kong residents' freedom to travel and right to enter or leave Hong Kong are guaranteed under Article 31 of the Basic Law.   It must rebuke the false claims made by individual organisations that the bill will deprive Hong Kong residents of their right to enter or leave Hong Kong, which is complete nonsense and served to deliberately smear the Government's legislative work.

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