🌊 Free Tide: Health experts warn of COVID loophole at Hong Kong Airport
Transit passengers carrying COVID, 5% jobless rate and Junius Ho stabber pleads guilty to wounding
Hey everyone! It’s a cool Wednesday afternoon here in California, and I’m feeling really grateful that I don’t have to write these newsletters at midnight Hong Kong time anymore (sorry Cyril). Enjoy!
~ Sze Yu
Transit passenger ‘loophole‘ at Hong Kong airport
Health experts have warned officials to close a virus ‘loophole‘(paywalled) that allows transit passengers at the airport to roam departure terminals and VIP lounges without a COVID test. Suggested measures included segregating transit, arrival and outbound passengers and asking those who are just flying through Hong Kong to produce a negative coronavirus test.
However, officials have also been cautioned against overreacting to the recent airport lounge case.
“Transit traffic is crucial for HKIA to recover, restore its hub status and be viable over the long run…there is a safe way to manage transit traffic and in a later phase also gradually reopen borders. Any moves in the opposite direction will impact the Hong Kong aviation industry’s ability to recover and put HKIA at a competitive disadvantage.”
— Brendan Sobie, analyst from Sobie Aviation
The recent scrutiny of transit passengers comes after a worker at Cathay Pacific’s VIP airport lounge was confirmed as infected with Covid-19 this Tuesday. Health officials said they believed the Cathay worker was most likely infected by transit passengers in the lounge. The infection ended Hong Kong’s almost two-week run of zero local infections.
Coronavirus in Hong Kong
New cases: 3 (imported)
Total cases: 12,043 cases so far (81 active cases, 212 total deaths, 11,750 total recovered)
Shenzhen eases quarantine rules
Shenzhen has shortened the hotel quarantine for Hongkongers to 14 days or even seven from the previous 21 as long as they test negative 24 hours before crossing the border.
Unemployment rate falls to 5%
Hong Kong's unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 5 percent in the May to July period, reaching its lowest level since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of unemployed persons is at 198,400, while the number of underemployed persons fell 3.85% to 92,300 persons.
Junius Ho stabber pleads guilty to wounding but denies attempted murder
Tung Pak-fai—the Hong Kong man who stabbed lawmaker Junius Ho—pled guilty to (paywalled) one count of wounding with intent, and another count of wounding. Tung attacked Ho and his bodyguard as Ho distributed leaflets ahead of the district council elections two years ago, before blaming him for notorious Yuen Long attack on anti-government protesters.
A humanitarian fund set up to provide financial assistance for protesters arrested during the 2019 pro-democracy demonstrations will halt operations by October 31.Trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund told reporters “the fund can no longer have a bank account it can use, and therefore cannot continue to operate”.
The Hong Kong legislature has passed an amendment to include the illegal wildlife trade in the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance.The move will give authorities greater investigatory powers to help crack down on the illegal wildlife trade.
Four HKU student leaders have been arrested by national security police for allegedly advocating terrorism. The HKU Student Union’s Council has come under fierce scrutiny after passing a motion in July to express sympathy for the man who attacked a police officer and then committed suicide.
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