business

HKSAR gov’t seeking legislature’s approval of new economic relief: chief executive

HONG KONG, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) — Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam said Tuesday that the government is seeking the legislature’s approval of new economic relief measures for industries reeling from COVID-19.

Lam said the government will file the plan of the next round of the anti-epidemic fund with the Finance Committee of the HKSAR Legislative Council before the Christmas holiday at a press briefing.

The relief is designed to assist hardest-hit sectors amid tightening social distancing, including some venues and restaurants, Lam said, adding that more details will be disclosed soon.

The HKSAR government has appropriated anti-epidemic funds of more than 300 billion Hong Kong dollars (38.7 billion U.S. dollars) this year to help businesses and residents weather out the hardship caused by the epidemic.

Hong Kong is grappling with the fourth wave of the epidemic outbreak as the number of new infections has remained high.

Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection reported 98 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, taking the total tally to 7,721. Of the new cases, 89 were local infections, with 30 of unknown origin.

According to Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority, 1,126 COVID-19 patients are still hospitalized, with 50 in critical condition.

Reiterating the severity of the coronavirus spread, Lam warned that the situation could become worse and pledged the government will continue to adopt a multipronged approach from screening local infections to preventing imported cases.

Lam also urged residents to avoid gatherings during the upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays.

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