Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (center) visits Hong Kong Baptist University’s Chinese Medicine Telemedicine Centre Against COVID-19 on March 12. [Photo provided to China Daily]

HONG KONG — Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam on Tuesday welcomed the passage of the government’s funding application by the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council (LegCo) for an injection of 43 billion Hong Kong dollars ($5.49 billion) into the anti-epidemic fund to implement the 2022 Employment Support Scheme.

Lam said in an online statement that the new round of ESS aims to provide three-month wage subsidies from May to July for industries directly or indirectly affected by the fifth wave of the pandemic in Hong Kong, especially the small and medium enterprises.

The HKSAR government estimated that the refined ESS will benefit around 160,000 employers, 1.6 million employees and 140,000 self-employed persons.

Lam said a simple and convenient application procedure would be the guiding principle in implementing the ESS. The scheme aims to be open for application later this month, with a view to grant financial assistance to the first batch of successful applicants in early May.

She believed that the 2022 ESS, together with the measures rolled out earlier in the fifth and sixth rounds of the anti-epidemic fund worth a total of 30.6 billion Hong Kong dollars, as well as the wide range of relief measures in the 2022-23 budget, will accelerate the rebound of the local economy upon the subsiding of the fifth wave of the pandemic.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong registered 735 new COVID-19 cases by nucleic acid tests, and 698 additional positive cases through self-reported rapid antigen tests, official data showed.

作者 admin_philip