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August 29, 2022

Chief Secretary Eric Chan said on Sunday that he hoped extending mandatory testing to groups of more than eight people dining together at restaurants could help bring down Covid infections.

He was speaking on a Commercial Radio programme on the day the new rule came into effect.

People attending banquets must now present a negative rapid antigen test done within the past 24 hours, or a negative PCR test result within 48 hours.

Chan said it’s within the government’s expectation for the daily tally to exceed 10,000 again, adding the administration had tried to minimise the impact of anti-infection measures.

“When there are more than two tables of diners who know each other, the risk of transmission is the greatest if they take off their masks to eat and walk around. So, we hope that citizens will cooperate and help bring the number of cases down. Afterwards, our anti-epidemic measures can slowly be eased again,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chan also commented on the government’s Strive and Rise Programme which aims at tackling intergenerational poverty among underprivileged secondary school pupils.

Under the pilot scheme, the 2,000 form one to form three students taking part will each be paired with a mentor from various sectors to guide them on different skills for a year.

He said he hoped participants would become more confident in themselves, understand society better, and learn more about life planning and financing.

“We hope that they can continue to keep in contact with their mentors. We will also have an alumni group to keep in touch,” Chan said.

Chan said some have said they wanted the programme to last longer for each student, but the minister said this could be difficult for some mentors.

There’s no official launch day for the programme yet.

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