• Coronavirus Hong Kong: 800 quarantine rooms for domestic helpers gone within minutes of becoming available | South China Morning Post

    A Hong Kong quarantine facility offering 800 places for the swelling number of foreign domestic workers headed back to the city was fully booked within minutes of its online reservation system opening on Tuesday morning.Users were allowed to start waiting 45 minutes before the bookings opened for the spots dedicated to inbound workers – mainly arrivals from the Philippines and Indonesia – at the government’s Penny’s Bay quarantine facility.
    Separately, the city’s “Come2HK” scheme, a quarantine-free travel arrangement for non-Hong Kong residents arriving from Guangdong and Macau, is slated to start on Wednesday. The scheme’s designated online booking system, offering 2,000 slots a day, will open every Wednesday for the next 2½ weeks, with reservations offered on a first come, first served basis.Also from Wednesday, arrivals to the city holding Covid-19 vaccination records issued outside Hong Kong will be able to receive a QR code showing proof of inoculation for local use, such as when entering certain bars and restaurants. Inbound air travellers will be issued the QR code along with their compulsory quarantine order, with the arrangement set to be extended to land arrivals from September 28.New arrivals who are already in Hong Kong can apply for the codes online or at designated post offices. The QR codes, which allow users to present their vaccination record in an electronic format, can be stored on the government’s “Leave Home Safe” app.
    Under the revised rule, participants in groups of no more than four will no longer need to stay at least 1.5 metres apart, as long as all staff are vaccinated and everyone is masked. Trainers, however, will need to remain in a fixed location at least 1.5 metres from anyone else.The rush on the Penny’s Bay booking system, which was offering reservations beginning on September 20, began at 9am, with online queues forming even earlier. By 9.30am, a Post reporter was unable to access the system at all.“The centre only accepts bookings until October 19 and was fully booked within five minutes,” said Cheung Kit-man, chairman of Hong Kong Employment Agencies Association. He estimated that about 300 employers were unable to book a slot and would have to try again when more became available.
    For those unable to secure accommodation in the latest round, bookings will open on September 17 at 9am for reservations starting on October 20, according to a government update.
    “It’s first come, first served. The faster you move, the higher your chances of securing a room,” Chan said. “If you spent even just two minutes longer to double-check the passport details of the domestic helper, you would’ve been too late to book a slot.”The speed at which bookings filled up has frustrated some families in urgent need of help. A first-time mother, who gave her name as Mrs Li, was reduced to tears after failing to book a quarantine room on Tuesday.Li had hired a helper from the Philippines in January this year to care for her newborn son, but ran into delays with flight suspensions and vaccine documentation.The secondary school teacher said the system returned an error message after her application was submitted, compounding her frustration.“I was in tears when I realised the application couldn’t go through quickly enough,” she said, adding the stress of the whole process had worsened her postpartum depression.Li said neither she nor her husband could afford to take more time off work. She was willing to pay more for a helper, “but there are simply no more domestic helpers left in Hong Kong that I could find to hire”. Foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong are paid a minimum wage of HK$4,630 (US$595) per month.Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong on Saturday said about 50 quarantine rooms at the facility would be released on a daily basis, estimating that all slots would be filled within 16 days.Even after a reservation has been successfully submitted online, the application does not necessarily guarantee the room, according to a notice on the system.
    The Labour Department must then process the applications to verify the travel documents and vaccination record of the helper.The entire process can take up to three to four days, with a phone call from the department to confirm the reservation. A 21-day quarantine stay at the government-run facility, including three meals per day, costs HK$10,080 (US$1,295).But as the facility does not have Wi-fi, helpers have been told to bring their own mobile phone and charger, along with a functioning SIM card, so they can communicate with health authorities.The government announced on Friday that the Lantau Island facility would begin operating as quarantine accommodation for fully vaccinated foreign domestic workers following complaints that the more expensive 409-room Silka Tsuen Wan hotel had been fully booked. Bookings at the Silka, which charges HK$800 per night, were all snapped up within 24 hours of its reservation system opening. Before Tuesday, it was the sole quarantine option for incoming workers after the government’s decision to begin recognising vaccination records from the Philippines and Indonesia.


  • Hong Kong : Lettre publique d’une dirigeante syndicaliste emprisonnée

    Lorie Lai, présidente du Syndicat général des orthophonistes de Hong Kong (General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists – GUHKST), a été arrêtée avec l’ensemble du Comité exécutif du syndicat par la Direction nationale des forces de police, pour la série de livres d’histoires pour enfants, prétendument séditieuse, éditée le 22 juillet par le syndicat.

    Elle et la vice-présidente ont été inculpées et placées en détention provisoire le jour suivant. Les autres membres du Comité exécutif ont également été inculpé.es et placé.es en détention provisoire le 30 août.

    En outre, les autorités ont notifié à la mi-août la révocation de l’enregistrement légal du GUHKST, en invoquant le motif de « l’utilisation du syndicat à des fins illégales ou incompatibles avec ses objectifs ou ses règles ».


    #international #hongkong

  • Coronavirus: nearly half of Hong Kong’s convention, events sector could close if travel rules not eased, survey finds | South China Morning Post

    Coronavirus: nearly half of Hong Kong’s convention, events sector could close if travel rules not eased, survey findsNearly half of Hong Kong’s exhibition and convention sector could face closure by the end of the year if authorities do not ease travel restrictions and roll out more subsidies, an industry survey has found.The Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association, which released the report on Monday, urged the government to relax Covid-19 quarantine rules for eligible business travellers to attend events, conferences and conventions in the city.
    It warned that 45 per cent of event organisers, contractors, freight forwarders, travel agents, audiovisual equipment suppliers and design houses could fold within a year if current control measures remained and no financial aid was provided by the end of 2021.“The convention and exhibition industry, which contributed over HK$58 billion (US$7.5 billion) to Hong Kong’s economy in 2018, has been in deep water since February 2020 as no international event could be held in Hong Kong due to travel restrictions and preventive measures,” association chairman Stuart Bailey said.
    In its survey, conducted in August on 60 members, the association found event organisers and industry players were facing losses totalling HK$50 million this year.Despite keeping coronavirus cases at bay for months, health authorities have been adamant in maintaining a “zero-infection” policy in the hopes of reopening the border with mainland China.
    The city’s travel restrictions are among the strictest in the world, with arrivals from countries and regions deemed high risk facing 21 days of hotel quarantine.Last week, authorities announced Asia’s premier tech conference RISE would be held in Hong Kong for the next five years starting in March as an in-person event, promising 10,000 attendees. The conference was originally set to be held in Malaysia, but organiser Web Summit said that was no longer a feasible location because of logistical issues.However, Hong Kong’s government has not offered quarantine exemptions for the summit. According to the survey, all respondents said quarantine-free travel for overseas participants was important to their operations, with 75 per cent warning they would move international events elsewhere if Hong Kong insisted on its tough measures till the end of the year.Under the government’s Anti-epidemic Fund subsidy scheme, private organisers of events held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai and the AsiaWorld-Expo in Chek Lap Kok near the airport are eligible for financial aid covering full venue rents until June 2022.However, organisers have had to postpone or cancel events, meaning they have been unable to benefit from the subsidies. The association said only 42 exhibitions had been awarded a total of HK$97.38 million as of June 30.
    The association called on the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau to provide more aid and prepare a road map for relaxing travel restrictions so the industry could plan ahead, warning the city could lose out to foreign competitors. In a reply to a Post inquiry, the bureau said it was aware of the survey and would continue to liaise closely with the sector to work on reinvigorating Hong Kong’s premier position as an international convention, exhibition and sourcing hub.


  • Coronavirus: Wednesday relaunch of quarantine-free ‘Return2HK’ scheme for Hongkongers, doors open to others from mainland 1 week later | South China Morning Post

    Coronavirus: Wednesday relaunch of quarantine-free ‘Return2HK’ scheme for Hongkongers, doors open to others from mainland 1 week later
    Return of programme for residents will see six medium or high-risk areas excluded, with ‘Come2HK’ scheme for non-residents on September 15
    Hong Kong residents will soon be able to cross the border from mainland China without quarantine under the relaunched ‘Return2HK’ scheme.
    Quarantine free travel from mainland China and Macau to Hong Kong will resume on Wednesday for city residents, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has revealed, with the programme set to expand to non-residents a week later.
    The “Return2HK” scheme – first launched in November for Guangdong province and Macau, then expanded to the rest of the mainland in April – exempts returning Hongkongers who have passed a Covid-19
    test at least 72 hours before arrival.But when the programme relaunches on Wednesday, six areas currently considered medium or high-risk for Covid-19 will be excluded. Further details about those areas are expected to be announced later today.The plan, which sets a daily quota of 5,000 residents, was suspended last month for Macau and mainland provinces other than neighbouring Guangdong in a bid to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak across the border from spreading into the city.The decision meant most returning residents needed to spend 14 days in isolation at home and submit to five rounds of testing. “Since last November when the Return2HK scheme was launched, more or less 200,000 residents have returned, but not a single case of infection was found. So we can proceed with this plan without worries,” Lam told reporters ahead of her weekly Executive Council meeting.Additionally, Lam announced that a separate scheme, dubbed “Come2HK”, would finally be launched on September 15, enabling non-residents – including mainlanders and expatriates living across the border – to come to the city without undergoing compulsory quarantine.The plan will initially be capped at 2,000 people per day.On Tuesday, Hong Kong confirmed six new imported Covid-19 cases from Britain, the Philippines, Tanzania and the United States. They all carried the L452R mutation, which has been linked to several coronavirus variants, including the Delta one.
    All but one had been fully vaccinated. The remaining person had received one dose of vaccine. There were fewer than five preliminary-positive infections reported.Lam said the last locally transmitted Covid-19 case was on August 17, which was 21 days ago, an important milestone because it reflected the virus’ incubation period.
    Tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said the two schemes were a step in the right direction, but doubted it would boost cross-border traffic significantly.“It signals that mainland Chinese authorities are willing to test the waters and allow people to enter or return to Hong Kong,” Yiu said. “But there’s still a long way to go before they allow travel to return to normal levels.“Cross-border travel has been stalled for a long time, even though both Hong Kong and the mainland have had stable coronavirus conditions, so we can expect business travellers and those with family or health matters to return to the city first.”Yiu added that the long-awaited “Come2HK” scheme was like a “tester” to see if there was sufficient demand among travellers from the rest of the mainland to come to the city. “Both schemes are not reciprocal, Hong Kong residents would still have to quarantine if they cross over, indicating that mainland China is still not ready to fully reopen its borders yet,” he said.


  • EU removes six countries including US from Covid safe travel list | Coronavirus | The Guardian

    EU removes six countries including US from Covid safe travel list. Travellers from Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia also affected by move. The EU has removed six countries, including the US, from a Covid “white list” of places whose tourists should be permitted entry without restrictions such as mandatory quarantine.
    A majority of EU countries had reopened their borders to Americans in June, in the hope of salvaging the summer tourism season although most required a negative test ahead of travel. The move was not, however, reciprocated by the US.The EU’s white list necessitates having fewer than 75 new cases daily for every 100,000 people over the previous 14 days – a threshold that is not currently being met in the US. According to Johns Hopkins University, the US suffered the world’s highest number of infections over the past 28 days. Also removed from the EU’s safe list because of a rise in Covid infections are Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and the Republic of North Macedonia. The current white list now includes: Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine and China.
    The member states are also advised that travel restrictions should be gradually lifted for the special administrative regions of China Hong Kong and Macao. The guidance is non-binding and the recommendation is that the fully vaccinated should nevertheless be granted entry for non-essential travel.


  • #Doors_Wide_Shut – Quarterly report on push-backs on the Western Balkan Route

    As part of the #Protecting_Rights_at_Borders initiative funded by the European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM), the second quarterly report on unlawful push-backs carried out by authorities in Greece, North Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Hungary, and Italy was published: https://helsinki.hu/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/07/PRAB-Report-April-to-June-2021.pdf

    A key finding is that the informal cooperation between states has prevented thousands of women, men and children from seeking protection in Europe this year, in often extremely violent and humiliating ways. Rights violations at borders are not an isolated issue. There is an overall trend, a so–called race to the bottom, with regards to respect for the fundamental rights of migrants, asylum–seekers and refugees. While governments deliberately do not respect and often directly violate migrants’, refugees’, and asylum seekers’ rights under human rights law, humanitarian organizations are often prevented from providing assistance in line with their humanitarian mandates.

    Country chapters were written by Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione (ASGI), Diaconia Valdese (DV) and Danish Refugee Council (DRC) regarding Italy; the Hungarian Helsinki Committee regarding Hungary; DRC BiH for Bosnia-Herzegovina; Humanitarian Center for Integration and Tolerance (HCIT) regarding Serbia; Macedonian Young Lawyers Association (MYLA) regarding North-Macedonia, and the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR) and DRC Greece regarding Greece.

    The previous quarterly report is also available here: https://helsinki.hu/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/05/prab-report-january-may-2021-_final_10052021.pdf


    Dans le rapport on trouve une carte avec le nombre de refoulements entre janvier et juin 2021 :

    #push-backs #refoulements #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #asile #migrations #réfugiés #frontières #Grèce #Macédoine_du_Nord #Serbie #Bosnie-Herzégovine #Hongrie #Italie

  • Coronavirus: domestic helpers vaccinated in the Philippines ‘could be able to travel to Hong Kong as soon as August 30’ | South China Morning Post

    Coronavirus: domestic helpers vaccinated in the Philippines ‘could be able to travel to Hong Kong as soon as August 30’ Manila’s top diplomat in the city says ‘fruitful’ talks on recognising Philippine inoculation records are nearing completion. The arrangement is likely to involve the use of a special ‘yellow card’ issued by the Philippine government
    Domestic helpers vaccinated against the coronavirus in the Philippines could be able to fly to Hong Kong as soon as next week, as “fruitful” talks on recognising inoculation records from the country near completion, Manila’s top diplomat in the city has revealed. Philippine Consul General Raly Tejada told the Post on Sunday that his country would be ready to enable people vaccinated there to travel to Hong Kong from August 30, probably through the use of a special “yellow card” verifying their inoculation records. In a text message, Tejada said: “[An] agreement is very close on having the Yellow Card being issued by the Philippine Government’s Bureau of Quarantine as an acceptable document that would certify the holder’s Philippine Covid-19 vaccination record. We have been informed that August 30 is the target date.” The special card, according to a sample seen by the Post, would contain the traveller’s coronavirus vaccination record, along with their name, date of birth and identification document details. Tejada said the information could be verified through an embedded QR code printed on the card. Philippine labour secretary Silvestre Bello III also confirmed on Sunday that the Hong Kong government would allow Filipino workers with vaccination certificates issued by the Bureau of Quarantine to start work in Hong Kong.


  • Sous la pression du gouvernement et des médias d’État chinois, le plus grand syndicat enseignant de Hong Kong s’auto-dissous

    Le quotidien d’État chinois « Quotidien du peuple » et l’agence de presse officielle « Chine Nouvelle » (Xinhua) ont qualifié le syndicat enseignant HKPTU, fondé en 1973, de « tumeur toxique » devant être « éradiquée ».

    Le Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (HKPTU) a annoncé son auto-dissolution le mardi 10.

    Avec plus de 95 000 membres, HKPTU était le plus grand syndicat enseignant de Hong Kong, représentant plus de 90% de la profession.


    #international #hongkong

  • HK border reopening hopes fade with new outbreaks - Asia Times

    HK border reopening hopes fade with new outbreaks
    Hong Kong is pushing to reopen its border with Macau and the mainland but new virus outbreaks could scupper the plans. Hong Kong’s retail and tourism sectors have become pessimistic about the resumption of quarantine-free travel across the territory’s borders with Macau and the mainland by October after new outbreaks were reported in the region.
    The Macau government said Tuesday it received notification from Zhuhai authorities that samples they collected from two Macau residents had tested positive. The couple’s son and daughter were then identified as infected.
    Macau’s health authorities said the four were infected with the more infectious Delta variant. They said it was likely that the daughter, who joined a dancing trip with 30 people to fly from Zhuhai to Xi’an in Shaanxi province between July 19 and 24, was the first infected person in the cluster. Her brother and parents later showed symptoms of the illness.
    It was said that the plane taken by the daughter on July 19 had arrived from Nanjing to Zhuhai earlier on the same day. Two passengers flying from Nanjing to Zhuhai on that plane previously tested positive.Due to the outbreaks, the Macau government declared a state of “immediate prevention” from 3:30pm on Tuesday and ordered Covid tests for the gaming city of 680,000 people. People must provide a negative Covid test result done within 12 hours if they want to leave the city. The latest outbreak also sparked panic buying in supermarkets as Macau has not seen a local case for more than 400 days.Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng said it was not necessary to shut down casinos for the moment as it was likely that the infected daughter contracted the virus on the July 19 flight. Ho said the girl sat on the same seat where two patients from Nanjing had occupied.
    The Hong Kong government also announced that from August 4, anyone who had been in Macau over the past 14 days could not return to the city under the Return2hk scheme, which allows Hong Kong residents quarantine-free entry upon returning to the territory if they test negative for the virus.A 13-year-old Hong Kong girl and her family are being sent to a quarantine camp as she stayed in the same room with the Macau girl during the dancing trip last month.
    Separately, a 43-year-old construction worker, who lived in Sham Shui Po in Kowloon, tested positive preliminarily on Tuesday. However, his sample tested negative for the coronavirus on Wednesday but positive for the Covid-19 antibodies, showing that he might have recovered from a previous infection.Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Centre for Health Protection’s Communicable Disease Branch, said Wednesday the man was probably a “re-positive” case, but authorities had not been able to find out the exact time of his infection yet.“The man has been undergoing regular testing, his regular testing started from May – although he had one or two tests at the end of March – so one of the possibilities is that he had an infection quite early on, maybe before May or March,” Chuang said.If the man has been infected recently through an unknown source, his case would have broken a 56-day streak of zero new untraceable local infections in Hong Kong.
    Since the second quarter of last year, Macau and the mainland have adopted a “zero infections” strategy by implementing tough anti-epidemic measures. As the two places successfully controlled their epidemic situations, they have resumed quarantine-free travel since last September.
    Last year, the Hong Kong government tried to maintain local infections at low level and avoided launching severe measures such as citywide tests and large-scale lockdowns. However, such strategy failed to prevent the city from being hit by the fourth epidemic wave between last November and January this year.Since then, the government has locked down infected areas, tightened quarantine measures and banned flights coming from high-risk countries to stay in line with Beijing’s “zero infections” strategy.
    Yiu Si-wing, a lawmaker representing the tourism sector, said his sector had previously expected that Hong Kong could reopen its border with Macau and the mainland by October but such hope seemed to have vanished due to the recent outbreaks in the latter two places. Yiu said the previously scheduled travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore had burst twice and would probably be unable to resume in the coming few months.
    He said among the 1,600 travel agencies in Hong Kong, only 100 to 200 were organising “cruise-to-nowhere” trips while 400 were running local tours. He said a majority of travel agencies were having no income while some of them might go bankrupt if the border between Hong Kong and the mainland could not reopen this year.Yip Kin-ming, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and a director of the China Economic and Social Council, said the chance that the Hong Kong-mainland border could reopen in short term had become slim after the Delta variant was spread from Nanjing to a dozen of Chinese provinces in late July.
    However, Yip said the two places should continue to push forward the discussion about whether vaccinated people could be allowed to travel across the border with shorter quarantine periods. Health authorities in China on Wednesday reported 71 domestic cases, the highest since January. The country is fighting against the Delta variant by launching citywide tests and locking down millions.Infectious disease expert Leung Chi-chiu said it was right for Hong Kong to quickly remove Macau from the “Return2hk” scheme, so that from now on people who return from Macau would need to undergo home quarantine. Leung said if the situation became worse, returnees from Macau should be quarantined in hotels instead.
    “The Macau case does illustrate the fragility of a bubble with the mainland,” Benjamin Cowling, an epidemiologist from the University of Hong Kong, told RTHK. “I know that’s what we are going for. If we can maintain zero Covid for a period of time, if we can get the vaccine coverage up to a higher level, then we have the opportunity to establish a bubble with the mainland with free travel in both directions.” On Tuesday, the Hong Kong government launched several new measures to help boost the city’s vaccination rate. It said Hong Kong would have 70% of its population vaccinated with their first dose by the end of September.


  • Hong Kong - La révolte d’une ville - | ARTE (-> 10/10/2021)

    Auprès de jeunes manifestants, une passionnante immersion dans le mouvement prodémocratie hongkongais, qui s’est radicalisé en 2019 face à une répression croissante.

    Au printemps 2019, le projet de loi proposé, puis retiré par l’exécutif hongkongais sur les extraditions en direction de la Chine continentale a provoqué un mouvement de contestation massif et, en retour, une répression croissante. En rupture avec le statut d’autonomie garanti en 1997, lors de la rétrocession du territoire, la « loi relative à la sécurité nationale » adoptée en juin 2020 par Pékin et imposée à la région administrative spéciale de Hong Kong a donné lieu à une nouvelle attaque en règle contre les droits humains et les libertés fondamentales, avec l’emprisonnement de nombreux opposants politiques. Comment les jeunes citoyens hongkongais, qui ont grandi avec la démocratie et les réseaux sociaux, vivent-ils cette période sombre ? Comment fonctionne, de l’intérieur, un mouvement prodémocratie dépourvu de leaders identifiés, qui s’est radicalisé face à la répression ?

    Entre courage et désespoir

    Cette immersion dans la révolte hongkongaise suit sur une année de jeunes militants lycéens, étudiants ou salariés : Eve, qui proposait des conseils juridiques aux manifestants avant de voir son campus assiégé par la police ; Tan, père de famille et déjà engagé dans la « révolution des parapluies » de 2014, désormais tenté par l’action violente ; « MJ », 18 ans, qui a mis de côté son rêve de devenir footballeur pour embrasser le combat politique… Une passionnante chronique au long cours, au fil d’une année, entre courage et désespoir.

  • Coronavirus: 3 new imported cases in Hong Kong, including 2 people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 | South China Morning Post

    Coronavirus: 3 new imported cases in Hong Kong, including 2 people fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The three infections involved a 53-year-old man arriving from Namibia, a 42-year-old woman from Cyprus and a 37-year-old man from Ghana.All were found to have the L452R mutation, which is linked to the more infectious Delta variant.
    The man from Namibia had received two shots of the BioNTech vaccine
    , and the woman had also been vaccinated with two doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V jab. Both received their second shots in April, making them fully vaccinated.The city’s total number of confirmed infections stood at 11,955, with 212 related deaths. On Tuesday, the Centre for Health Protection revealed that an airport porter, whose infection was confirmed on Sunday, was linked to four earlier imported cases from Russia. Health authorities suspected the man, who had spent several hours inside a cargo plane one of the four cases worked on, was infected by an undiagnosed cabin crew member.


  • Hong Kong quarantine flip-flop, UK flight ban leave travellers high and dry – and cost some a fortune | South China Morning Post

    Hong Kong quarantine flip-flop, UK flight ban leave travellers high and dry – and cost some a fortune. The quarantine time for travellers to Hong Kong from the UK was suddenly changed from one week to three – then came a total ban Not a problem if you’re rich enough, but for economy travellers it’s an expensive headache.British Airways’ hotline was busy the other week. After an hour on hold, the cheery voice saying “we value your call” every 20 seconds was starting to sound a little insincere. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one wanting to cancel my flight after the Hong Kong government flip-flopped from a proposed one-week quarantine to three weeks for those returning from Britain.Once you’ve invested an hour, you don’t want to give up. Besides, BA won’t let you cancel by email – you have to call your local agent. I doubled my chances and called from a landline as well as my mobile. Having both on speakerphone, bleating that hollow message, was driving me towards the edge, so when my “local agent” – in New Delhi, India – finally picked up after two-and-a-half hours, I was both grateful and terrified I might accidentally get cut off.
    Meanwhile, vaccinated friends already in Britain who’d been working out which partner would quarantine with the unvaccinated kids were suddenly scrambling to extend their quarantine hotel bookings and stressing about the cost. And then, BAM! All flights from the country were banned
    , heralding a whole new set of problems and travel chaos.If you’ve got buckets of money, adding a few more weeks onto a trip is a mostly a logistical challenge – still stressful and inconvenient, but something that might even be turned into an adventure. But for those of us who aren’t cashed up, these sudden changes can be crippling, and mean running up credit card bills and taking out loans.
    I have friends returning to Hong Kong from Britain via Spain, France, Dubai and Finland. For the most part, they were not on what we think of as a “holiday”; these were duty visits to see family – often elderly parents – something I’d also been hoping to do. And there are the Hong Kong students who didn’t manage to get a seat on one of the last flights out who are now stranded for the summer in Britain and being palmed off on friends and friends of friends.No one travels purely for pleasure in a pandemic, not unless you’ve got the funds to cover the inevitable escalations in costs and unexpected time off work. For many of us, it would be easier to leave Hong Kong and emigrate (with all that involves, from filing your final tax return to packing up your home) than go on holiday.


  • Coronavirus: Hong Kong leader hopeful over talks on reopening mainland China border, but experts warn against moving too fast | South China Morning Post

    Coronavirus: Hong Kong leader hopeful over talks on reopening mainland China border, but experts warn against moving too fast
    Hong Kong’s leader on Monday said she was waiting for “positive instructions” from Beijing on the possibility of resuming quarantine-free, cross-border travel between the city and mainland China, but sources and experts cautioned that both sides were not ready yet.Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor revealed that she had submitted a report to Beijing on the Covid-19 situation in Hong Kong, adding that no preconditions had been set for talks to begin on reopening the border, which has been closed for more than a year.
    The city had no new coronavirus infection to report on Monday, its first day without a fresh case since June 17. A day earlier, a 50-year-old airport worker broke Hong Kong’s 33-day run of zero community infections.
    In a related development, the Philippines’ top diplomat in Hong Kong, Raly Tejada, revealed on Monday that the city was considering the possibility of allowing in vaccinated Hongkongers and people with work visas from countries currently under a direct flight ban. But the plan was not finalised yet, and details still needed to be ironed out, he added.
    The Philippines and Indonesia, which provide most of Hong Kong’s foreign domestic helpers, are currently among eight countries categorised as “extremely high-risk” because of the pandemic.The city’s government said Russia would join the list of very high-risk countries from Friday after the country reported a surge in cases and several arrivals were found to be carrying Covid-19 variants.Under the new arrangement, arrivals from Russia will have to quarantine for 21 days instead of 14, even if they are fully vaccinated, and must undergo four tests while in isolation, as well as a fifth on the 26th day after landing.According to Lam, talks on reopening the border with the mainland were not preconditioned on achieving any fixed targets and she stressed that negotiations could resume at any time. But residents who wanted to cross the border would have to be inoculated, she warned. “If you have been vaccinated, you are giving me more ammunition and power to resume the flow of people with the mainland,” Lam said.


  • Bye ‘jinxed’ travel bubble, hello ‘air travel corridor’ as Singapore, Hong Kong well placed to reconsider plan: minister | South China Morning Post

    Bye ‘jinxed’ travel bubble, hello ‘air travel corridor’ as Singapore, Hong Kong well placed to reconsider plan: Health minister Ong Ye Kung says the twice-postponed initiative will now go by a new name, with both economies ‘in a good position’ to look at it again. He adds that vaccinated Singaporeans may be able to undertake quarantine-free leisure travel to Europe and the US by the end of the year
    Vaccinated Singaporeansmay be able to undertake quarantine-free leisure travel to Europe and the United States by the end of the year, according to the island nation’s health minister Ong Ye Kung, who says Hong Kong and Singapore are now “in a good position” to reconsider their twice-postponed travel bubble.In a Thursday interview with The Straits Times, Ong said he shared the aspirations of residents who hoped to go on holiday by year-end to places where the Covid-19 pandemic
    was on a downtrend, though he added a caveat by saying “one thing I learned is that the situation changes every month”.The minister’s remarks follow comments last week from the government’s Covid-19 task force – which Ong co-chairs – that outlined a blueprint for the country to live with the coronavirus becoming endemic.
    Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble: early July review set for quarantine-free scheme amid coronavirus pandemic
    11 Jun 2021 Restrictions put in place in May to deal with a surge in cases are currently being scaled back, with the cap on dining in at restaurants expected to be increased from two to five people on July 12. Ong did not specify when the travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore would begin, but noted that “both of us are more or less in a good position now and both of us are vaccinating”. “I think this puts us in a good position to relook at some of what we had looked at before,” Ong said. The bubble was initially slated to launch last November before it was postponed due to a spike in cases in Hong Kong.Then, a May 26 start date was indefinitely pushed back when cases surged in Singapore, leading some frustrated citizens to quip that the plan was jinxed.The authorities appear to have taken notice of that sentiment. Ong said in the interview that the arrangement would be called an “‘air travel corridor’ from now as the word ‘bubble’ is a bit of a jinx, I think”.Asked by the bemused interviewer if that would expedite the arrangement’s start date, Ong replied: “We try, whatever works.”
    On countries to which vaccinated residents of Singapore could travel without restrictions, Ong said: “I think once [the] trajectory [of a place] is downwards, vaccinations going up, and you go below, say, [an infection rate of] three per 100,000, we should start looking at those countries seriously.”
    He named “most of” the European Union and the US as among the places that fit this criteria, though he noted that the number of Delta-variant cases in Britain were rising.The minister also touched on a commentary he and two other cabinet ministers – also co-chairs of the government’s Covid-19 task force – penned last week. The officials wrote that the authorities were drawing up a blueprint for Covid-19 becoming endemic in a plan that might include “multi-year” vaccine booster shots such as those given for the flu virus, a shift away from monitoring daily cases, and a return of mass gatherings such as the country’s annual National Day Parade.


  • Coronavirus: Hong Kong officials investigating quarantine hotel over cleaner’s variant infection as city logs 11 cases | South China Morning Post

    Coronavirus: Hong Kong officials investigating quarantine hotel over cleaner’s variant infection as city logs 11 cases. Investigators scrambling to avoid a feared community spread of a more infectious Covid-19 strain. Ten imported cases recorded, the most in a single day since April 29, with eight involving arrivals from BritainOfficials are focusing their efforts on Bridal Tea House Hotel in Yau Ma Tei as part of their investigations into a cleaner’s variant infection.
    Officials are focusing their efforts on Bridal Tea House Hotel in Yau Ma Tei as part of their investigations into a cleaner’s variant infection. Photo: Google Map. Hong Kong health officials visited a quarantine hotel on Friday to investigate whether the case of a cleaner who tested positive for a Covid-19 variant involved environmental contamination or screening errors.
    The probe into the case involving a more infectious variant emerged as a medical expert urged all employees of designated quarantine hotels to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. The cleaner was classified as a local untraceable case and was among 11 new infections announced by health authorities. The remaining 10 were all imported, the most in a single day since April 29. Eight of the infections involved arrivals from Britain, one from Indonesia and another from RussiaThe city’s tally of confirmed cases stands at 11,938, with 211 related deaths.
    Authorities said the 41-year-old woman – who worked part time as a cleaner at Bridal Tea House Hotel in Yau Ma Tei – earlier tested negative for both the coronavirus and antibodies against the virus at hospital, raising the possibility she had not been infected.Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch at the Centre for Health Protection, said the worker on Wednesday cleaned the room of someone also found with the L452R mutant strain. Later that day she was swabbed under regular testing in place for hotel employees.Chuang said that investigation at the Yau Ma Tei hotel involved the centre and government pandemic adviser Professor Yuen Kwok-yung.The patient, who tested preliminary-positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, has no recent travel history.
    The woman also worked part time as a cleaner at Bluejay Residences in Ap Lei Chau and at House 2, 12A South Bay Road in Repulse Bay.
    Hung, co-convenor of the Expert Committee on Clinical Events Assessment Following Covid-19 Immunisation, said tracing the source of the infection was important but also expressed his faith in the anti-epidemic measures in hotels designated for quarantine.“But the most important thing is hotel staff should all get vaccinated as soon as possible because they can only get very good protection through the injection, particularly when we talk about the variants,” he told a radio show.
    A 47-year-old foreign domestic helper who arrived from Indonesia and underwent her quarantine in the Bridal Tea House Hotel was among the Covid-19 cases confirmed on Monday.The woman from Indonesia developed symptoms on June 26 and was found with the same L452R mutant strain.The latest development has complicated the city’s plans to relaunch quarantine-free travel with Macau, as the health authority in the casino city said on Thursday the border with Hong Kong could only reopen if the international finance hub had not recorded any local coronavirus infections or import-linked cases for 14 days. The last time Hong Kong recorded a community case was on June 7.The new criteria represents a change from last month when Macau authorities said Hong Kong visitors could be exempted from quarantine if the city achieved 28 straight days of zero local infections, which means a complete absence of untraceable community cases.Andy Wu Keng-kuong, president of the Travel Industry Council of Macau, said the new case, if confirmed, might introduce uncertainty to the planned reopening of the border, but added it would depend on how experts later classified the case.


  • Coronavirus: quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and Macau could resume this month, but plan limits access to hotel facilities in casino city | South China Morning Post

    Coronavirus: quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and Macau could resume this month, but plan limits access to hotel facilities in casino city
    Two governments close to agreeing a deal to reopen the border, subject to conditions such as a swimming pool ban in Macau hotels. But Macau raises threshold, with Hong Kong required to reach 14 days without either local infections or community ones linked to imported cases
    Macau could open up again to Hong Kong tourists in July, but a proposal to do so involves facilities restrictions in hotels. Vaccinated Hong Kong residents will be allowed to visit Macau without undergoing mandatory quarantine as early as this month under a plan that limits visitor access to hotel facilities and mask-free activities such as visiting bars, the Post has learned.But shortly after the plan was revealed on Thursday, the Macau government ramped up its requirements. It raised the threshold for resumption of travel, with Hong Kong required to reach 14 days without either local coronavirus infections or community ones linked to imported cases. Previously, the requirement was for no untraceable cases for 28 days.
    A Hong Kong source with direct knowledge of discussions earlier on Thursday said both governments were finalising arrangements to reopen the border and allow quarantine-free travel, subject to conditions such as compulsory Covid-19 vaccination, accommodation restrictions and initial passenger quotas.
    “Both sides are eager to resume travel, and at this moment, it seems reopening the border with Macau will come sooner than with Guangdong province where more factors have to be taken into consideration,” the government insider said. “Of course, the prerequisite is that we must have a stable pandemic situation.”In a letter to hotels in the casino city seen by the Post, the Macau Government Tourism Office said the plan was for Hong Kong arrivals to carry a specific health code and operators could welcome such guests provided they placed them on designated floors.But the visitors would be banned from hotel swimming pools and other facilities involving water-based activities, the office added.


  • Coronavirus: Hong Kong officials identify airport testing centre as probable source of Delta variant infection | South China Morning Post

    Coronavirus: Hong Kong officials identify airport testing centre as probable source of Delta variant infection. Airport worker spent time at the sample collection centre where two arrivals with same viral footprint as his were detected earlier this month 27-year-old’s case is Hong Kong’s first local infection involving the Delta variant; 4 new imported cases confirmed
    In a groundbreaking development in the city’s first local case involving the more infectious variant, the Department of Health on Friday said whole genome sequencing results showed the 27-year-old worker’s infection matched that of three arrivals from Indonesia who were found with the coronavirus on June 11.
    “Two of them tested positive after their samples were taken at the Department of Health’s temporary specimen collection centre at Hong Kong International Airport,” the spokesman said. “[The worker] had received cargo flight crews at the airport and stayed in the temporary specimen collection centre for work in the morning on the same day.”
    The airport worker, whose case ended Hong Kong’s 16-day streak of zero local infections, was earlier on Friday confirmed as carrying the Delta coronavirus variant, first found in India. The three arrivals sharing his viral footprint are all domestic helpers from Indonesia.Hong Kong on Friday recorded no new untraceable local Covid-19 cases, but confirmed four imported infections – two from Britain, one from Indonesia and another from Bangladesh.


  • Hong Kong : le journal pro-démocratique Apple Daily est mort, « victime de la tyrannie de Pékin » | Euronews

    Armé de la loi sur la sécurité nationale promulguée par Pékin il y a un an, les autorités ont aussi gelé 2 millions d’euros d’actifs du journal, empêchant ainsi l’Apple Daily de poursuivre ses activités. Plus d’un millier de personnes, dont 700 journalistes, se retrouvent désormais sans emploi.

    #fermeture #politique_internationale #démocratie #pro_démocratie #journal #presse #hong_kong #chine #censure #fin #communisme #liberté_de_la_presse #tyrannie #pékin

  • HK eases quarantine rules for summer travelers - Asia Times

    HK eases quarantine rules for summer travelers
    Health experts warn that reducing the quarantine period from 21 to seven days may lead to virus outbreak in Hong Kong. Fully vaccinated Hong Kong residents will be allowed to be quarantined for seven days instead of 14 when returning from tourist destinations such as Thailand and Europe from June 30. Foreigners who have Covid-19 antibodies will also be required to bisolated for only one week when entering the city by the end of July, according to the special administrative region government. They will have to reserve a hotel room for 14 days and undergo a Covid-19 antibody test on the second or third day after their arrival. If the result is positive, they can leave the designated hotel a week earlier. The new rules will only be applied to people arriving from Group B and C specified places or high and medium-risk places such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Singapore, Taiwan and mainland China. Travelers from Group A1 specified places or extremely high-risk places such as Brazil, India and the Philippines, and Group A2 specified places or very high-risk places such as Ireland and Indonesia will be quarantined for 21 days.


  • Coronavirus: antibody testing triggers industry calls for Hong Kong to expand quarantine exemptions to more business sectors | South China Morning Post

    Coronavirus: antibody testing triggers industry calls for Hong Kong to expand quarantine exemptions to more business sectors. Industry leaders say antibody screening supports the expansion of quarantine exemptions and relaunch of business travel. Authorities confirm the tests will be a further requirement for finance bosses seeking quarantine-free entry to Hong Kong. Industry leaders have urged Hong Kong officials to relaunch cross-border business activities in the city by expanding the Covid-19
    quarantine exemptions for financial executives to cover more sectors, arguing that antibody testing allows for a widening of the system.
    The calls to reopen Hong Kong to business travel were made on the back of a new antibody screening requirement being imposed on senior bankers and other top finance professionals seeking quarantine-free entry
    , while the government is also under pressure to extend the privileges to executives who are medically unfit for vaccination. Here’s how Hong Kong’s quarantine exemption works for financial executives
    “With this additional [antibody] test, the government should also expand its quarantine exemptions to other business sectors and allow exempted businesspeople to freely go about the city,” said Chan Kin-por, the city’s insurance sector lawmaker. “There should be a certain level of trust between the government and the exempted persons. There is no need to confine their activities.”
    Fully vaccinated senior executives in the finance industry can apply for an exemption to the quarantine arrangements required for arrivals to Hong Kong, subject to a series of conditions which has been expanded to include testing positive for coronavirus antibodies. The requirement was confirmed on Tuesday after city leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced a day earlier the halving of mandatory quarantine to seven days for all fully vaccinated arrivals from lower-risk destinations who passed antibody tests, taking effect as early as June 30.
    A spokesman for the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau said the antibody testing requirement was in force with immediate effect for finance executives seeking quarantine exemptions. “The relevant test must be conducted by an accredited local medical laboratory, and a positive result is valid for three months,” he said. The spokesman said a positive result would reduce the self-isolation period for an exempted person from 14 to seven days


  • New cluster exposes loophole in HK quarantine - Asia Times

    New cluster exposes loophole in HK quarantine. A cluster of three Covid cases break a 42-day streak of zero new untraceable local infections in Hong KongA cluster of three people who were infected with the Alpha variant of Covid-19 has exposed a loophole in the quarantine system for incoming travelers in Hong Kong. On Saturday, a 17-year-old secondary schoolgirl tested positive for the highly infectious N501Y mutant strain that was first detected in the United Kingdom. It was the first time the variant – labeled by the World Health Organisation as Alpha with a scientific name of B.1.1.7 – had been discovered in Hong Kong.However, her sample tested negative to the E484K and L452R strains, which originated in Brazil and India, respectively.The girl, who lives at Shing Yu House, Tin Shing Court, in Tin Shui Wai, developed a fever, runny nose, headache and loss of smell on June 2. She studies at the Queen Elizabeth School Old Students’ Association Tong Kwok Wah Secondary School at Tin Wah Road and attended a tutorial class at an industrial building at Tsun Wen Road, Tuen Mun.

    Citing the results of genome sequencing of the virus, the Centre for Health Protection said the cluster was unrelated to the previously confirmed cases reported in Hong Kong, as well as the recent cases identified in Shenzhen.
    Gilman Siu, an associate professor at the Department of Health Technology, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said the 17-year-old girl’s virus sample had at least 10 mutants different from the previously identified UK variant, showing that the transmission could have gone through several generations.Siu said the patients were probably infected by an incoming traveler due to a loophole in Hong Kong’s quarantine system. Siu said the girl’s cycle threshold (CT) value was 18, while her mother’s was between 16 and 19, meaning they both had a large amount of coronavirus in their bodies. He said the cluster was much more infectious than the Indian engineer, who came from Dubai and triggered a virus outbreak in Hong Kong in April.Infectious diseases expert Leung Chi-chiu said there was an urgent need to review Hong Kong’s quarantine system and break the transmission chain as early as possible because many people would soon return to the city for their summer holidays.Leung said if this cluster triggered a large-scale virus outbreak, it would become the fifth-wave epidemic in the city.However Ronald Lam, controller of the Centre for Health Protection, said Hong Kong was among the top places globally in terms of its strict quarantine requirements. He said people in Hong Kong should take the initiative to get vaccinated, otherwise the territory could suffer from outbreaks similar to those in Taiwan and India.
    Tam Yiu-chung, the sole Hong Kong representative in the National People’s Congress standing committee, said the possible “border-reopening” between Hong Kong and the mainland could be delayed by the new cases found in the territory.Tam said if Hong Kong could significantly boost its vaccination rate, it was still hopeful that the border-reopening would be implemented step by step.Presently, people from Hong Kong are required to be quarantined for 14 days when entering the mainland. Under the Return2HK scheme, Hong Kong residents are allowed to return to the special administrative region from the mainland without being isolated.
    Since May 21, Guangzhou has reported a total of 80 Covid-19 cases. The Guangzhou Municipal Health Commission said people leaving the city must show proof of a negative Covid-19 test result within the past two days


  • Coronavirus: calls for Hong Kong to tighten rules for returning residents as variant clusters grow over the border | South China Morning Post

    Coronavirus: calls for Hong Kong to tighten rules for returning residents as variant clusters grow over the border. As neighbouring Guangdong struggles to contain a resurgence of cases, talks on reopening the border with Hong Kong take back seat, mainland official admits In Hong Kong, where seven new cases emerged, health experts warn the border crossing scheme for residents presents pandemic risks for the city
    Loopholes identified in travel arrangements and lax enforcement of testing rules for Hongkongers returning home from mainland China could put the city at greater risk amid a continuing Covid-19
    outbreak in neighbouring Guangdong province, medical experts warned on Monday.The warning came as an official source from the mainland told the Post that plans to reopen the border with Hong Kong would be pushed back even further since the Guangdong government had prioritised its efforts to contain the growing outbreak in the province, given the challenge authorities were facing in tackling coronavirus variants and detect asymptomatic cases.The Guangdong government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said any progress so far in border-reopening discussions would “definitely be affected”, as provincial authorities were busy containing the spread of clusters in the major cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen with tighter quarantine and lockdown measures.Four more Covid-19 infections, including one asymptomatic case, were reported in Guangzhou on Sunday, taking the city’s total since May 21 to 98 cases. Mass testing of more than 18 million people, including those screened more than once, has uncovered at least six positive cases over the past three days.The mainland official said the Delta variant that was first reported in India and recently identified in Guangzhou was “something totally different” from the strains previously found in the city, rendering ineffective some previous control efforts, such as asking people to stay at least 1 metre apart from each other.“This is a very different enemy. The variant has a much higher proportion of asymptomatic infections; it is much more infectious, and results in a much higher viral load,” the official said.“Stopping the spread is the top political priority now. Border reopening will only come after this outbreak is brought under control.”


  • Hong Kong : Mémoire et continuité à l’occasion de l’anniversaire du massacre du 4 juin 1989 à Pékin

    Le 4 juin 1989, des chars et des soldats en arme ont déferlé sur la place Tiananmen de Pékin, écrasant par une répression sanglante les idéaux d’une génération entière à la recherche de la démocratie.

    Les forces obscures, qui ont piétiné le peuple chinois il y a 32 ans, se sont maintenant répandues l’ensemble de Hong Kong. Depuis la mise en œuvre de la loi sur la sécurité nationale en juillet 2020, les droits humains et les libertés n’ont cessé de se détériorer à Hong Kong, les manifestant.es étant arrêté.es et emprisonné.es, la liberté d’expression et de pensée remise en cause, le droit de réunion et de manifestation brutalement supprimé.


    #international #chine #hongkong

  • A propos de « Hong Kong en révolte »

    L’auteur, Au Loong-yu, était sur place lors d’un grand nombre d’évènements figurant dans ce livre. Sa parfaite connaissance de l’anglais, du mandarin et du cantonais lui ont permis de comprendre en profondeur les multiples sources orales et écrites auxquelles il a eu accès. Sa vision militante du monde lui permet par ailleurs de mieux comprendre le caractère contradictoire des évènements et de leurs protagonistes.

    Note sur : Au Loong-Yu : Hong Kong en révolte


    #international #hongkong