HK police arrest 10 under national security law

UNTV News   •   July 2, 2020   •   353

Hong Kong police have arrested 10 people for violating the law on safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) which came into effect on Tuesday.

They were the first arrests made under the law since it took effect.

According to the Hong Kong police force, as of 22:40 Wednesday, apart from the 10 arrested for breaching the national security law, around 360 arrests had also been made for offenses including unlawful assemblies, disorderly conduct in public places and furious driving.

Rioters chanted slogans, calling for separation of the SAR from China. Police used water cannon to disperse the crowd.

A total of seven police officers were injured on duty, said Hong Kong police on its social media.

The Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, on Tuesday passed the national security law.

The law seeks to prevent, stop and punish acts and activities that endanger national security, namely secession, subversion, terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or external elements. (Reuters)

Hong Kong to take off masks in public, reopen cinemas starting August 28

Marje Pelayo   •   August 26, 2020

Starting August 28, the government of Hong Kong will ease several social distancing measures in relation to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), according to Secretary for Food & Health, Professor Sophia Chan.

“Under the new normal, it is almost not possible for us to wait until there are no more local cases before relaxing the social distancing measures,” the official said in a media briefing on Tuesday (August 25).

Chan said unless there are drastic changes to the epidemic situation, the government would issue new directions before Friday specifically the following:

(1) Extend the dine-in services allowed to 9 pm; 

(2) Allow re-opening of scheduled premises including cinemas, beauty parlours and also some outdoor sports premises for activities involving little physical contact; and 

(3) Allow people not to wear masks in country parks and while doing exercise.

Prof. Chan reminded the public, however, that while the number of daily new cases has been gradually declining, the epidemic situation still has not completely stabilized.

Thus, she advised Hong Kong nationals not to be complacent and maintain good personal and environmental hygiene.

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Researchers detected first COVID-19 reinfection in Hong Kong

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 25, 2020

Several experts have confirmed the first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reinfection in Hong Kong.

Based on the report, the 33-year-old patient got infected with COVID-19 in Hong Kong and recovered last April. However, he again tested positive for the virus mid-August after traveling to Spain and the United Kingdom.

Experts say he got infected with two different strains of the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the exact immune response time of a recovered COVID-19 patient is yet to be determined.

“What we are learning about infection is that people do develop an immune response and what is not completely clear yet is how strong that immune response is and for how long that immune response lasts,” according to WHO Health Emergencies Program Technical Lead Maria Van Kerhove.

However, the Department of Health (DOH) said they are still reviewing the reinfection situation.

Tinitignan po natin at minamapa natin ang (We’re still looking into and mapping out the) international experiences, so that we can have appropriate evidence and we can give you accurate information,” DOH Spokesperson Usec. Maria Rosario Vergeire said.

The DOH is also reviewing the cases of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, and that of Dr. Karen Senen who recently succumbed to COVID-19.

The Health Department reiterates the importance of following minimum health standards to prevent the spread of the virus. -AAC (with reports from Aiko Miguel)

UK to suspend Hong Kong extradition treaty amid China tensions

UNTV News   •   July 21, 2020

Britain announced on Monday (July 20) it will suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in an escalation of its dispute with China over the introduction of a national security law for the former British colony.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told parliament the extradition treaty will be suspended immediately and an arms embargo will be extended to Hong Kong.

“We will not consider reactivating those arrangements, unless and until, there are clear and robust safeguards, which are able to prevent extradition from the UK being misused under the new national security legislation,” Raab said.

The ban is another nail in the coffin of what then Prime Minister David Cameron in 2015 cast as a “golden era” of ties with China, the world’s second-largest economy.

London has been dismayed by a crackdown in Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, and the perception that China did not tell the whole truth over the coronavirus outbreak.

Australia and Canada suspended extradition treaties with Hong Kong earlier this month. (Reuters)

(Production: Lucy Marks, Marissa Davison)

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