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Flu jab booking set

Community vaccination centres (CVCs) in various districts will offer free seasonal influenza vaccination (SIV) to Hong Kong residents aged 50 or above when they are there for COVID-19 vaccination starting from October 6.   The Government announced today that eligible people can make reservations for receiving both COVID-19 vaccination and SIV through the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme booking system starting from 9am tomorrow.   They may also choose to receive the free SIV on site when they are receiving the COVID-19 jab starting from October 6.   Given that local seasonal influenza activity has been staying at low levels since February 2020, the overall immunity against influenza in the community is at present relatively low, the Government noted.   As the winter flu season is approaching, citizens are strongly urged to complete the recommended dosage of COVID-19 vaccines and the latest seasonal influenza vaccine as early as possible to obtain better protection in the event of

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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