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Radio Lantau News is presented courtesy of the Radio Lantau News Network.

  1. Chief Executive John Lee said on Thursday that Hong Kong needs to grab international talent in innovation and technology. Making a speech at an IT summit, he said this was among the views he collected in recent consultation sessions for his policy address in October and is something he fully agrees with. "Some of the people said in online sessions that as Hong Kong enters the key moment of moving from stability to prosperity, we should focus on developing innovation and technology, and seize the moment in attracting top talent to come here. We should grab them," Lee said. "I will introduce measures and give my views on the matter in the policy address." The CE said Hong Kong needs to live up to President Xi Jinping's expectations in developing the sector, as Xi's visit to the Science Park during his trip to Hong Kong last month shows that Beijing highly values the industry. Lee said the SAR will promote in-depth cooperation with other cities in the Greater Bay Area to open a new chapter in IT development.
  2. The government said on Thursday that around 2,200 children aged between six months and three years have been given the Sinovac vaccine since it became available to the age group a week ago. That’s according to the Secretary for the Civil Service, Ingrid Yeung, who said around 45 percent of the kids were inoculated at private clinics. The Sinovac jabs are available to younger children at five community vaccination centres, designated government out-patient clinics and private doctors. Yeung told an RTHK programme that authorities are planning to also provide the jabs to this age group at the Tsing Yi community vaccination centre and the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital, with bookings to open on Friday for slots from next Monday. She also said from Monday, parents of young children who regularly use any maternal or child health centres can opt to have them vaccinated against Covid at the same time. Meanwhile, Yeung said the government is still in talks with the manufacturer of the BioNTech vaccine over the purchase of doses made especially for babies and toddlers. “I know that some parents hope to have more [vaccine] choices. But experts have told us that Sinovac is a very safe vaccine. For parents who want to provide protection for their children sooner, don’t hesitate and have them vaccinated with this vaccine now,” she said. The civil service chief said the government has not set any target for the vaccination rate of young children, but that it hopes everyone who should get the jab does so. When the summer holiday ends, she said the government will arrange outreach vaccination programmes at kindergartens.
  3. Five people were injured in a nine-car pile-up on Tuen Mun Road on Thursday morning. At around 7:30am, seven private vehicles, a taxi and a van collided near Tsing Lung Tau San Tsuen. The accident happened on the Tsuen Wan-bound carriageway. Five people, including at least one private car driver and a taxi passenger, suffered minor injuries.
  4. An aviation analyst says the reduction of hotel quarantine to three nights should boost business for Cathay Pacific, but that it could take up to two years for it to return to pre-pandemic levels. The airline yesterday reported a first-half loss of five billion dollars, but that was a third lower than in the same period last year. Herman Tse from the aviation analytics firm Cirium said he was optimistic about the outlook after the government eased quarantine requirements this week. Noting that the company's performance had improved slightly but was still drastically lower than 2019 levels, he said: "The easing of travel restrictions will definitely improve passenger demand and passenger revenue." He cautioned, however, that the turnaround would take time. "Generally, Hong Kong has fallen behind, with fewer than 100 departing flights every day, compared to places like Singapore which has 300 departing flights every day, and quarantine-free travel. "For sure, Cathay is preparing for recovery at the moment, but it may take 1-2 years to fully recover to pre-Covid levels. Ticket prices are currently very expensive, but these may come down when there is balance between inbound and outbound passengers."
  5. A representative of local subsidised schools doesn't think the new "amber code" policy will cause much disruption in the sector when students return for the new school year next Thursday. Under the government's new code, inbound travellers who finish three nights' hotel quarantine without testing positive for Covid-19 have to stay under medical surveillance for four more days and are restricted from taking part in activities deemed high-risk during this time. Dion Chen, chairman of the Direct Subsidy Schools Scheme Council, told RTHK he was seeking clarity on whether "amber code" students are to be prohibited from taking part in "mask-off" campus activities on-campus, but said he didn't think many students or teachers in local schools will have been away. "We would like all students to come back for all activities," he said. "But students are not required to scan a QR code [via the LeaveHomeSafe app] when they come to school, so if they don't report it to the school, the school may not know that they have been away. Schools may need to find alternative places for them to eat at school, for example." Chen added that continuing the policy of requiring students to show daily RAT tests would help "a lot." "The RAT tests are the only way to help students and parents find out if they have Covid," he said. " I can't see any way to reduce the frequency unless the government has a whole new policy for schools."
  6. The government on Wednesday issued compulsory testing notices for 55 places across Hong Kong. Anyone who has visited any of these premises and stayed there for the length of time and on the dates specified must get a nucleic acid test for Covid-19. The premises listed are located in Tai Po, Tung Chung, Sheung Shui, Tseung Kwan O, Lam Tin, Tuen Mun, Sau Mau Ping, Kwai Chung, Chai Wan, Sha Tin, Yau Tong, Kwun Tong, Tai Wai, Fanling, Kowloon City, Wong Tai Sin, Wan Chai, Ngau Chi Wan, Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai, Hung Hom, Cheung Sha Wan, Aberdeen, Sau Mau Ping, Quarry Bay, Tsz Wan Shan and Stanley. Hong Kong reported 4,593 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, of which 249 were imported.
  7. Three former leaders of the Liberal Party – James Tien, Selina Chow and Miriam Lau – said they have quit the party after its central committee voted to abolish the post of honorary chair that they held. The party said it had held numerous discussions on the matter since the beginning of the year, with some calling for a review of the arrangement. The party's central committee voted unanimously to remove the honorary chair post at its meeting on Wednesday. Tien said no one had discussed the matter with them, and that the way it was handled deviated from party tradition. He said since current party leaders think the views and contributions of the former chairs are no longer valuable, it left him with no choice but to resign. Chow said she felt offended by the decision, while Lau said she's disappointed with the way the current leadership moved to abolish the honorary chair position. Party leader Tommy Cheung expressed regret over the trio's decision, and said chairman Peter Shiu was trying to persuade them to stay. A fourth honorary party chair, Vincent Fang, also lost his position. The Liberal Party was founded in 1993 by Allen Lee, Tien, Chow and others.
  8. The Observatory has dropped all typhoon signals at 6:20pm on Wednesday as tropical cyclone Mulan moves further away from Hong Kong. The forecaster said Mulan will move across the vicinity of Beibu Wan, and will weaken gradually as it enters into the inland areas of Vietnam. However, it called on members of the public to remain on the alert, as the outer rainbands associated with Mulan will still bring occasional showers and squalls to Hong Kong. People have also been advised to stay away from the shoreline and not to engage in water sports as there will be swells.
  9. Health authorities on Wednesday reported 4,593 new Covid cases, including 4,344 local infections. There were four more Covid-related deaths, involving patients aged between 61 and 87. Officials said 23 patients are in critical condition and 25 are seriously ill – among them six are receiving intensive care. Speaking at a daily Covid briefing, the Hospital Authority’s chief manager, Gladys Kwan, said four staff members at the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital had come down with the coronavirus. She said they include a doctor, two nurses and a ward assistant who took care of a Covid patient last month. She said further investigation will be carried out to see if the cases are linked. Kwan added that testing requirements at the hospital had been stepped up in light of the cases, and no new infections or close contacts have been identified so far. She was asked whether the cases highlight the need for all hospital staff or those who have an amber health code to get daily PCR tests, instead of twice a week. “For this particular group of staff, now actually they are doing daily PCR to make sure whether there are any other confirmed cases within this cohort of patients and staff. Whether staff with the amber code should be required to have daily PCR tests… we are still in the process of discussion,” she said. ______________________________ USEFUL LINKS General Covid-19 situation: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/ Community Clinics for Covid-19 patients: https://bit.ly/3a4BZFE RAT reporting platform: https://www.chp.gov.hk/ratp/ Vaccination programme: https://www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/sen/ Vaccination pass scheme: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/vaccine-pass.html Hotline for Covid-positive patients: 1836 115
  10. The Observatory said it will consider issuing the Standby Signal No 1, or cancelling all tropical cyclone warning signals between 6pm and 9pm on Wednesday as tropical storm Mulan gradually moves away from Hong Kong. The forecaster said that in the past few hours, local winds are moderating. However, it urged members of the public to remain on the alert, saying the outer rainbands associated with Mulan will continue to bring occasional squally showers to Hong Kong. Seas will also remain rough with swells.

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