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


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Selected audio segments:
Fifth wave infections near one million  Listenfacebook
The total number of reported infections in Hong Kong's Omicron outbreak is fast approaching one million. On Wednesday, health authorities reported just under 30,000 new cases for the day and more than 200 deaths. Jimmy Choi reports:
Govt closes gazetted beaches  Listenfacebook
Public beaches are strictly-off limits now, as announced by the Chief Executive, Carrie Lam. Speaking at her regular briefing on Wednesday, she said now was not the time for complacency in Hong Kong's battle with Covid-19. But she said there were no plans to tighten other social distancing measures. Wendy Wong reports:
Another 300 mainland medics arrive  Listenfacebook
Another batch of mainland medics has arrived in Hong Kong to help in the fight against Covid-19. The 300-strong team will mainly help out at the community treatment centre at Asia-WorldExpo. Violet Wong reports:
Private hospitals defend Covid support  Listenfacebook
The head of the Private Hospitals Association, William Ho, says private hospitals are already doing their best to help ease the burden on the public system, by offering as many beds as possible for public patients. He was responding to reported criticism of the association’s offer to take 1,000 non-Covid patients from public hospitals. Damon Pang reports:
Fitness First chain closes down  Listenfacebook
One of Hong Kong's biggest gym chains, Fitness First, has announced it's closed all its eight branches and begun liquidation under the fifth wave of pandemic restrictions, which have shuttered a number of leisure establishments. Fitness First cited the challenges in not being able to operate its gyms. A researcher who studies the local fitness market has warned it could be the tip of the iceberg. Gordon Yau from Hong Kong Fitness Guide says a least 150 gyms could close down in the coming months if they can't reopen by April 20. So far, the government has said all social distancing rules would last at least until then. Yau spoke to Timmy Sung:
Jilin Covid caseload plummets  Listenfacebook
A senior Communist Party official in Jilin says the province is "in a last ditch battle" against Covid-19. The northeastern region bordering North Korea and Russia accounted for three-quarters of the mainland's total new cases reported on Wednesday, which was down significantly from Tuesday. Mike Weeks reports:
Fed raises rates by a quarter point  Listenfacebook
The US central bank, the Federal Reserve, has hiked its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a point to tame the worst inflation since the early 1980s. It also signalled up to six additional rate rises this year, pointing to higher loan rates for consumers and businesses. As recently as December, Fed officials had been expecting to raise rates just three times this year. Robert Kemp reports:
Impact of interest rate hikes will be 'limited'  Listenfacebook
A property analyst says the impact of the US rate rise on mortgage holders here will be limited. Nelson Wong, the head of research at JLL in Greater China, said since the fifth wave of infections hit Hong Kong, the number of property transactions had halved, down to around 3,000 in February. He said the Covid situation meant the primary market was mostly shut. He told Janice Wong that even if the Fed completed up to six rate hikes this year, the mortgage rates cap would limit its impact on local borrowers:
Proposed development reforms criticised  Listenfacebook
A researcher from an independent think tank says a series of reforms proposed by the government aimed at speeding up land supply will greatly reduce public participation in town planning. Caesar Leung from Liber Research Community made the comment after the Development Bureau said it wanted to change laws relating to town planning, reclamation, banning people other than landowners from changing the use of plots of land, and streamlining public consultation. Leung told Jimmy Choi that a lack of public scrutiny and engagement could affect the quality of future development projects:
Some development reforms 'positive'  Listenfacebook
The CEO of Designing Hong Kong, Paul Zimmerman, says proposed reforms aimed at speeding up land supply won't save much time as its government's internal procedures that take a "very, very long time". Zimmerman also said reducing the opportunity for public participation would reduce the quality of decisions. But he said not all proposals were bad. He spoke to Vicky Wong:
Muted celebrations expected for St Patrick's Day  Listenfacebook
Thursday is St Patrick's Day, the national day of the Irish which will be marked worldwide. In Hong Kong, events will be a bit more subdued due to the Covid situation. But the clock tower at Tsim Sha Tsui will be lit up in green and the Irish Consulate will have an online event on Thursday evening with guests, including recent Olympic silver medallist swimmer Siobhan Haughey. RTHK’s Annemarie Evans talked to author and Irishman, Mark O’Neill, about St Patrick - and the Irish who have contributed to Hong Kong: