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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.)

The Government today sought funding approval of $6.4 billion from the Legislative Council to launch a new round of the Anti-epidemic Fund to help sectors hard hit by COVID-19.

At a press conference this evening, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung told reporters that $5.5 billion of the $6.4 billion injection into the fund would be used to subsidise specific enterprises and people in the affected industries.

“If you talk about the quotum, the amount of money involved, in fact, we are talking about $5.5 billion in this round, which is actually double that of the previous round, the third round which was only $2.8 billion. You have to look at it in the right context, right perspective.

“This time, we are talking about a very focused, targeted approach, particularly helping those (who are) hard-hit, meaning those who have had to close down, for example, the gyms, a lot of other places, beauty parlours and so on and so forth. And then like the catering industry, they have got to face the challenge of no dine-in (services) at all after 6pm.

“We are talking about really hard-hit sectors, and also they fall into the (category of scheduled) premises (that) we ordered to close or those affected by social distancing measures and so on.”

Mr Cheung added that the Government has to be prudent in its spending.

“It is not a question of money alone, we have to look at it in a wider context. Over the last year, including the Budget, we have already spent $300 billion – a lot of money there – in terms of fighting the epidemic and easing the pressure on the community and helping industries as well.

“So, we are facing a very difficult, tough fiscal position that we have got to be prudent. But at the same time, we have got to be compassionate, responsive and (we have to) strike the right balance. I think we have struck the right balance here with this package.”

Click here for details of the subsidy.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News