🌊Next up is...Season 57 of the pandemic
Plot twists. Constant, unwanted renewals. When's the long-awaited series finale coming? Stay tuned.
And I (unironically) hope your Monday’s off to a good start. Hi everyone, new recruit here. I’m Charlotte, and I’ll be bringing you this morning’s edition of High Tide :) Hopefully along with a little more serotonin from the image below (see Fig. 1) before we dive into today’s news.
Note: Substack has made some changes to the way emails are sent out, and we unfortunately messed up (again) with the tech. Apologies to everyone for sending out today’s High Tide late. Hope you still find the information helpful!
On Today’s Tide:
Economy | Trouble projected for the first quarter due to 5th wave
Subsidies for cleaning workers
Vaccine Pass updates
Restriction updates still pending
Culture | HK Peak Tram’s glow-up and anticipated return
Behind the paywall:
Crime | “Doctored” vaccine exemption certificates
Education | More than Zoom fatigue: impacts of virtual learning for neurodivergent children
USA’s plans for China
Marriage is a declining social construct…
US$275 billion infrastructural developments in Xinjiang
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Unfavorable prognosis for HK’s economy
Paul Chan Mo-Po, HK’s finance chief, predicted “negative growth in the first quarter of the year, with the unemployment rate further deteriorating rapidly” for the economy. We’ve actually hit a new 5-month record high of unemployment rates at 4.5%, though thankfully not quite at the 7.2% all-time high of Feb last year.
He added that supporting small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) was key to improving this rather grim outlook, with SMEs accounting for 98% of the total enterprises in HK.
And the prescription includes … an SME rent deferral scheme, as well as a relaunched Employment Support Scheme directed at the 1.1 - 1.3 million employees eligible (both over 3 months).
HK$8,000 will be given to each employee, but it is unclear whether this plan will be extended for longer.
Hopefully, this and the consumption voucher scheme available starting next month (total $10,000 per resident) will aid a rebound for HK’s economy.
COVID in HK
New cases: 14,149 (new low! 加油!)
Total cases: 1,047,690
New deaths: 246
Total deaths: 5,896
Subsidies for cleansing workers
Under the Anti-Epidemic Fund, the HK Gov will provide a monthly allowance of HKD$2,000 over 5 months to each frontline and security worker for their pandemic-combatting efforts. The estimated expenditure of $3 billion is projected to help around 180,000 people.
Vaccine Pass requirements pushed forward
The Stage 3 Vaccine Pass implementation has been shifted up from June 30 to May 31, signifying a few important changes you might want to know. Those of age 12 and above (except certain special groups) now must have received the third booster shot by the end of May to receive those coveted Vaccine Pass benefits (being able to go to supermarkets, restaurants, live some semblance of normal life, etc.).
From May 31 onwards, the grace period to receive the 3rd dose will be shortened to 6 months. In other words, to continue with the Vaccine Pass the third dose must be received within 6 months of getting the second dose. Yay for mild/moderate fatigue, headache, and muscle pain!!
Get your booking here.
Meanwhile…update on restrictions still pending
The likening of these past few years to the horribly written TV show from literal hell is perhaps an overextended metaphor - but we’re still waiting on the update for restrictions potentially being eased; coming Monday at the earliest. Sit tight.
The Peak Tram’s revival
Yes, that thing that’s been rattling in the background for most of our childhoods is making a comeback. The 134-year-old tram is said to make a resurgence. Not after the traditional 3 days, no. But it’s had a recent successful test run after 8 months of renovations to showcase that shiny, new, still-recognizable exterior.
A projected reopening date hasn’t been revealed yet, although it is said to happen in the summer. Perfect for tourist season — oh, wait. Well, the HK public can enjoy it then at least. Fingers crossed.
Events and deals
Support Harbour Times, our friends and partners by attending these events! Let everyone know who sent you by tagging @harbourtimes
10% off the Cellar: La Cabane x Harbour Times
Our friends over at La Cabane have kindly given all High Tide subscribers 10% off everything on their online store - high quality wines, cheeses and wines-and-cheeses accessories.
Use the code HIGHONWINE10 at www.lacabane.hk to stock up your wine cellar today.
HKU COVID and Mental Health Survey
Wanna become a statistic? I sure do! HKU is running a voluntary online mental health survey till April, trying to find if there is any (yes) relationship between COVID and HK’s mental health problems.
Supporting Ukraine from the comfort of your couch
This isn’t really an event per se, but we thought our very internationally-minded audience might be wondering how to get involved with humanitarian efforts. Luckily, you can literally do it by drinking beer, eating good Ukrainian food and calling our good friends at the Polish Consulate General.
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