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Hong Kong Today
Hong Kong Today
RTHK's morning news programme. Weekdays 6:30 - 8:00
Ben Tse and Vicky Wong


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Selected audio segments:
HK scraps most Covid rules, but masks to stay  Listenfacebook
The vaccine pass, restrictions on close contacts of Covid patients, PCR tests for international arrivals and the outdoor gathering limit have all been scrapped. The move was announced by the Chief Executive, John Lee, on Wednesday as health officials reported 20,865 new Covid infections, 1,100 of them imported. Violet Wong has the details:
Microbiologist welcomes easing of Covid curbs  Listenfacebook
A microbiologist from the University of Hong Kong has welcomed the almost total relaxation of anti-pandemic measures in the SAR. Siddharth Sridhar from the university's Department of Microbiology told Ben Tse that while it's unlikely the coronavirus will go away, people now have strong-enough protection against it:
'Eased curbs won't make HK's Covid situation worse'  Listenfacebook
University of Hong Kong epidemiologist Benjamin Cowling also welcomed the scrapping of most anti-pandemic measures, but said they could have been dropped earlier. He told RTHK he was surprised by the suddenness of the move, but doesn't think it will make the Covid situation in Hong Kong worse. He spoke to Vicky Wong:
Full day classes for schools from February, daily rapid tests to stay  Listenfacebook
The government says full-day face-to-face classes will resume in phases in February. Kelly Yu reports:
Eased curbs will give restaurants 5-10 percent boost in trade   Listenfacebook
The president of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades expects the lifting of restrictions on his trade to give another significant boost to business. Simon Wong said as well as sitting more diners together and maximising table capacity, restaurants can now also host people who are not vaccinated and could not eat out before:
'Relaxed Covid rules will see rebound in tourism recovery'  Listenfacebook
The executive director of the Travel Industry Council, has welcomed the rescinding of most anti-pandemic restrictions, saying they will help the recovery of tourism in the SAR. Fanny Yeung said the dropping of the PCR test requirement for arrivals, and isolation for close contacts will boost both inbound and outbound travel. But she warned that Japan's decision to restrict flights from Hong Kong to just four of its airports is already having a big impact on the tourism industry. She spoke to Ada Au:
'More cancellations of Japan flights inevitable'   Listenfacebook
Plans by many Hong Kong holidaymakers to visit Japan have hit a snag after Tokyo told airlines that passenger flights between the two places can only land in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. That has also raised fears that Hong Kong people already in Japan may be stranded there. The Chief Executive says the government has demanded Tokyo withdraw the decision. John Lee said officials have been in talks with the Japanese authorities on how to help stranded passengers. Yuen Chun-ning, chairman of travel agency WWPKG Holdings, told Ben Tse that they are waiting for announcements from Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong Express, but that cancellations would be inevitable:
US, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, India to test Chinese tourists for Covid  Listenfacebook
The US has become the latest country to impose mandatory Covid tests on visitors from China, after Beijing announced it would reopen its borders on January 8. Tighter measures have also been brought in by Italy, Japan, Malaysia and India. The moves prompted an outburst from Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, who talked of "hyping, smearing and political manipulation with ulterior motives" that "can't stand the test of facts". He said the epidemic situation on the mainland is "overall predictable and under control". Aaron Tam reports:
HK home prices drop to record low  Listenfacebook
Home prices have fallen for a sixth month to their lowest since July 2017. Latest government figures show prices in November dropped 3.3 percent from the month before, widening from a 2.7 percent decline in October. Rents also declined, slipping 1.3 percent on month. Compared with a year ago, home prices dropped by almost 14 percent, while rent was down 4.2 percent. The chairman of Professional Property Services, Nicholas Brooke, told Joanne Wong that home prices are still under pressure because of uncertainties over interest rates and other issues. But he also pointed out that Hong Kong's property market is doing better than in some other places: