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Application for Employment Support Scheme lasts till 14 June 2020

From now on until 14 June 2020, eligible persons can apply online (click here) for subsidies allocated under the Employment Support Scheme, which is under the second round of the ‘Anti-epidemic Fund’ to provide time-limited financial support to employers to retain employees who may otherwise be made redundant. For details, please visit https://www.ess.gov.hk/en/.
 
Government distributes free masks to Hong Kong citizens
 
Starting from 7 a.m. on 6 May, all holders of valid Hong Kong identity cards can register on qmask.gov.hk to obtain a free reusable CuMask+™, which will be delivered to the door by Hongkong Post within two weeks. The registration period will last until 6 June and each registration can cater for a maximum of six persons.
 
For enquiries, please visit the CuMask+™ website (qmask.gov.hk) or call the hotline at 3142 2313.
 
Harvard University offers free online courses
 
Harvard University is offering over 60 free online courses for distant learning. The courses, ranging from mobile app development to public speaking, suit people of all walks of life. Click here link to check the courses currently available.
 
SDSN Hong Kong Webinar
 
Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Hong Kong Chapter is going to hold a webinar called ‘From SARS to COVID-19 Pandemic: The Hong Kong Journey, and What Next?’. Mr Leong Cheung, Professor Gabriel M Leung and Professor Samuel Wong are invited to share their experiences during the webinar. For details and registration, please click here.
 
Kai Tak Sports Initiative: Fun Exercise@Home funny video competition

Getting bored at home? Take a funny video of you doing exercise at home (together with your family or even your pets!) and upload it onto Instagram. Tag three friends and @kaitaksportsinitiative. Remember to add the following hashtags:
 
#FunnyHomeExercise #FightCovidTogether #Stayathome
 
You will get a drawstring bag of Kai Tak Sports Initiative as a souvenir. It is on a first come, first served basis. So do exercise and take your video now!
 
Restrictions on group gatherings starting from 29 March 2020
 
Group gatherings with more than four people in public places will be prohibited for 14 days from 0.00 a.m. on 29 March 2020. The new Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap.599G) is part of the measures to enhance social distancing and prevent mass gatherings in the light of the high risk of COVD-19 infection in public places.
 
Certain group gatherings are exempted from the Regulation, for purposes such as travelling on public transport, providing and receiving services in a healthcare facility, working in a place of work, mourning during a funeral, performing any government functions or duty, attending proceedings of the courts, the Legislature and District Councils, attending weddings with no more than 20 persons and no food or drink served, etc. Gatherings of persons living in the same household are also exempted. For details, please see https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202003/28/P2020032800069.htm.
 
Any person who violates the Regulation commits an offence and offenders are liable to a maximum penalty of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months. Persons who participate in a prohibited gathering may discharge liability for the offence by paying a fixed penalty of $2,000.
 
80% of Lip Balm Models Found with Potential Harmful Mineral Oil
 
The Consumer Council tested 45 models of lip balms and found that 80% of them contained potential harmful mineral oil hydrocarbons. The Mineral Oil Saturated Hydrocarbon (MOSH) mixtures content of some models failed to meet the industrial recommendation limit (5%) cited by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. Twenty-three models contained Mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbon (MOAH) mixtures which may contain carcinogenic compounds. Moreover, 41 models contained fragrance allergens.
 
The Consumer Council advised frequent lip balm users to read the product ingredients carefully and avoid using mineral oil-based lip balm. Before eating and drinking, it is best to remove lip balm first to reduce the chance of possible mineral oil intake. For people who have skin allergic reactions, they are advised to avoid using products with high amounts of fragrance allergens.
 
Severe Respiratory Disease associated with a Novel Infectious Agent

Centre for Health Protection announces latest information about Severe Respiratory Disease associated with a Novel Infectious Agent. Visit the following website to find out local buildings in which confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection have stayed during the symptomatic phase in the past 14 days:
https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/features/102465.html
 
Prevention of respiratory tract infections

Are you worried about respiratory tract infections? If yes, do follow these tips from Centre for Health Protection:
  • Use masks properly (Click here for details).
  • Perform hand hygiene frequently and properly (Click here for details).
  • Perform hand hygiene before touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Maintain respiratory etiquette/ cough manners.
  • Stay at home if got sick and minimise contact with others.
  • Stay away from possible sources of infection:
    > minimise unnecessary social contacts and avoid visiting crowded places. If this is necessary, minimise the length of stay whenever possible
    > persons at a high risk of having infection-related complications, e.g. pregnant women or persons with chronic illnesses are advised to wear a mask
    > avoid close contact with the infected persons
Health care voucher balance enquiry

You can now find out about the balance of your health care voucher via https://apps.hcv.gov.hk/hcvr/EN. Just enter your Hong Kong identity card number, date of birth and a few characters for verification and the system will show your voucher balance. Check it out now.
 
New exhibition at Loupe: Flowers in bloom

Starting from 17 January, Loupe will be hosting Anthony Choy’s watercolor exhibition ‘Flowers in bloom’. The exhibition will be open from Sunday to Saturday between noon and seven p.m. Free admission.
 
Smart Use of Online Banking

The Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB) has launched a campaign called ‘Smart Use of Online Banking’ to promote understanding and adoption of online banking among middle-aged and young old people (aged 40-65) in partnership with local social service organisations. The campaign consists of a series of community workshops and educational videos (click here to watch). Interest parties can follow the Facebook page of the HKAB (click here) for event updates.
 
Jockey Club CADENZA Hub (JCCH) adopts ‘Smart Fit’ intelligent fitness system
 
During the open day of JCCH on 14 December, there will be a demonstration of ‘Smart Fit’, an intelligent fitness system (click here for details). Adopting aerospace technology, Smart Fit is characterized with several built-in auto functions to ensure users’ safety and avoid injury during fitness training. Its self-management function helps record the performances and health conditions of the young old through a computerized system, which enables them to undergo fitness trainings under self-monitoring and safety with the aim of strengthening muscles and preventing deterioration.
 
JCCH aims at providing community-based Primary Health Care and day care services, and adopts an individualized case management approach that caters for members’ individual needs. Through the collaboration of multidisciplinary medical professionals including social workers, nurses, physiotherapists, trainers, dietitians and nutritionists, they all work towards the advocation of health, disease prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services at social level, changing or improving habits of the public, and hence reducing the probability of sickness and hospitalization.
 
To contact JCCH, please click here.
 
HK residents born in 1957, 1958 or 1959 can apply for new smart ID cards starting from 16 Nov 2019
 
Starting from 16 November 2019, Hong Kong residents born in 1957, 1958 or 1959 should apply for a new smart identity card. Eligible applicants may bring along up to two family members or friends aged 65 or above to replace their smart identity cards together during the same visit.
 
Hong Kong residents who are born in 1955 or 1956 have to apply for a new smart identity card on or before 15 November 2019 (Friday). If eligible Hong Kong residents are absent from Hong Kong during their call-up period, they can apply within 30 days of their return to Hong Kong.
 
For details of the Territory-wide Identity Card Replacement Exercise, please visit the website www.smartid.gov.hk or call the enquiry hotline 2824 6111.
 
Flat for Flat Pilot Scheme for Elderly Owners
 
The Flat for Flat Pilot Scheme for Elderly Owners, launched by Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS), will open for application starting from 14 October 2019. Under this scheme, owners aged 60 or above who have owned a subsidised sale unit under HKHS for at least ten years with premium unpaid can sell their flat in the Secondary Market of HKHS and then buy a smaller one among the 390,000 flats with premium unpaid in the same market or the Secondary Market under the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA).
 
The scheme is currently applicable to 11 developments under HKHS’s Flat-for-Sale Scheme only, namely Healthy Village (Phase 1), Healthy Village (Phase 2), Ka Wai Chuen, Clague Garden Estate, Broadview Garden, Cronin Garden, Verbena Heights, Bo Shek Mansion, Lakeside Garden, Kai Tak Garden and Kingston Terrace.

Apart from owning a subsidised sale unit with premium unpaid, eligible owners must fulfil the following criteria: 

(1)    The owner(s) and listed family members must age 60 or above; 
(2)    The owner must have owned the title of the flat for ten years or above; and
(3)    During the period from 24 months preceding the date of application submission and up to the time of signing the provisional agreement for sale and purchase of the new flat, neither the owner nor any listed family member has owned, or at any time had owned and sold any domestic property in Hong Kong (excluding the original subsidised sale unit).


Application must be submitted to HKHS Flat-for-Sale Scheme Secondary Market Support Unit by post or by hand. Enquiry can be made at the Scheme Hotline 8102-0889.
 
Broadband Service Concession Scheme for Elderly from Low-income Families
 
WebOrganic, a social service provider owned by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, has launched the Broadband Service Concession Scheme for Elderly from Low-income Families in cooperation with Netvigator and the Hong Kong Broadband Network. Eligible elderly people can apply easily for this scheme at 66 District Elderly Community Centres and Neighbourhood Elderly Centres. Applicants can sign up one of the service providers. During the three-year commitment period, they will receive broadband service at a concession price. Each household is also entitled to a free wireless router and any moving charges will be waived once.
 
The following are criteria for applying the scheme: (1) Applicants must be Hong Kong residents; (2) they must be 65 or over; (3) they are receiving CSSA or old age living allowance; and (4) they are living alone or with an elderly person who meets the above three criteria. For details, please call 2922 9250 or visit www.weborganic.hk.
 
The Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited introduces new product for retirees
 
The Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited has launched the Policy Reverse Mortgage Programme (PRMP). The PRMP enables the borrowers to use life insurance policy as collateral to draw down loans. The borrowers can choose to receive monthly payouts either over a fixed period of time or throughout their lifetime. They may also borrow lump-sum payouts for specific purposes. It is hoped that the PRMP can provide retirees with immediate, stable and lifelong stream of income.
 
For eligibility criteria and key features of the PRMP, please click here.
 
Minimum wage goes up to HK$37.5
 
Effective 1st May 2019, the statutory minimum wage is raised from HK$34.5 per hour to HK$37.5.
 
New mobile app saves patients’ waiting time
 
Union Hospital has launched its Mobile Clinical Solution. Patients who want to use the services provided at its Emergency Medical Centre can queue up virtually using its mobile app. The electronic prescription and drug interaction alert can also shorten patients’ waiting time. The mobile app is now available on App Store.
 
Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme rolled out
 
The Government has rolled out the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS). At present, there are 38 certified plans under the scheme.
 
The aim of this scheme is to enhance the protection offered to individuals under hospital insurance. There are two types of policy: Standard Plan Policy and Flexi Plan Policy. Premiums paid by a person for himself/herself and their dependants will be allowed for deduction. The deduction ceiling is $8,000 per insured person per year.
 
For more details, please refer to the official website of VHIS.
 
Bank of China (Hong Kong) provides attestation service for account opening

From now on, you can open accounts at Bank of China (Hong Kong) (BOCHK) without visiting their branches in Hong Kong in person. You can simply complete the account opening forms for BOCHK accounts at designated attesting banks in the mainland our outside Hong Kong. For details, please visit the website of BOCHK.
 
Free multi-cancer screening service

The Chinese University of Hong Kong Jockey Club Multi-Cancer Prevention Programme is now offering a free one-stop multi-cancer screening service to people aged between 40 and 75. The service includes colorectal, breast and prostate cancer screening. The programme is also providing body check-up to participants. Obese subjects will be invited to attend healthy exercise and dietetic classes. Interested parties please complete the online registration form (Chinese version only).
 
CTS replaces quota tags with online booking system

Starting from 15 March 2019, CTS (China Travel Service (Hong Kong) Limited) will stop giving out quota tags at their branch offices. People who want to apply for China visas have to book online in advance. To meet the needs of different people, there will be some special arrangements:
 
  • People aged 70 or above, infants aged under three months and people with physical disabilities will not be required to book online. They will be assisted at the branch offices.
  • People with emergency needs (e.g. visiting the sick, attending funerals, getting medical treatment and attending school) can provide relevant documents to CTS. Those who meet the requirements will be assisted at the branch offices.
  • People who do not know how to use CTS’s online booking system and do not have anyone to help them will be assisted at the branch offices.
Simplified arrangement of medical fee waiving

Persons who are receiving Higher Old Age Living Allowance recipients aged 75 or above are currently required to bring along the Medical Waiver Certificate when visiting a doctor at public clinics or hospitals. The Government announced that from now on, these persons only need to:
 
  • tell the staff that you are 75 years old or above and are receiving Higher Old Age Living Allowance; and 
  • present the identity document such as Hong Kong Identity Card, Hong Kong Birth Certificate, Certificate of Exemption, Hong Kong Entry Permit, One-way Permit, Passport or Birth Certificate of other nations, etc.
 
Following the implementation of this arrangement, the Social Welfare Department will no longer issue any Medical Waiver Certificate.
 
Government will raise social security payments by 2.8% in February

Starting from 1st February 2019, the standard payment rates under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) Scheme and the rates of Old Age Allowance (OAA) (including those payable under the Guangdong Scheme and the Fujian Scheme), Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) and Disability Allowance (DA) under the Social Security Allowance (SSA) Scheme will be increased by 2.8% (Details). The maximum rent allowance under the CSSA Scheme will also be adjusted upwards by 2.7% (Details).

On the same date, the eligible age for elderly CSSA will be adjusted from 60 to 65. Persons aged between 60 and 64 who have received elderly CSSA before 1st February 2019, and persons with disabilities or in ill health will not be affected. They will continue to receive CSSA payments.
 
Receiving influenza vaccination

As Hong Kong is entering the winter influenza season, you are advised to receive the influenza vaccination as soon as possible in order to better protect your health. Starting from 2019, Hong Kong residents aged between 50 and 64 are also eligible for receiving subsidized influenza vaccination. The subsidy for seasonal influenza vaccination from private doctors enrolled in the Vaccination Subsidy Scheme (VSS) 2018/19 is $210 per dose. Eligible elderly aged 65 or above can get subsidy for pneumococcal vaccination. The subsidy for 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is HK$250 per dose while the subsidy for 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is $730 per dose (Details).
 
Convenient arrangements for seniors to change new Smart ID

The Hong Kong SAR Government has announced on 18 October that the replacement of new Smart ID will commence on 27 December 2018.  The Immigration Department will provide the following arrangements for seniors to change their Smart ID conveniently.  Nine Smart ID Replacement Centres will also be set up in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories for providing services from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm.
 
  1. People who apply for new Smart ID during the replacement period designated for their age group can bring along two family members or friends aged 65 or above for changing to new Smart ID.
  2. Seniors who consider that going to the Smart ID Replacement Centres in person will be harmful to their health or that of others may apply in writing to the Commissioner of Registration for exemption.  The letter should be addressed to: ROP General & Statistics Unit, Room 1201, 12/F, Immigration Tower, 7 Gloucester Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong.
  3. On-site identity card replacement service will be provided in the second quarter of 2019 for seniors who live in specified residential care homes; this will be expanded to all residential care homes in Hong Kong in phases.
Eldertreks Hong Kong inviting seniors as tour guides

ElderTrek is a community guided tour platform founded by 4 undergraduates.  They were the winner of the Social Innovation CEO Competition held by the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund and youth.gov.hk in 2016, and won a reward of one hundred and seventy thousand dollars.   They used the reward as a startup fund and founded ElderTrek in 2017 to organize localized cultural guided tour for local people and tourists while providing job opportunities for seniors.
 
ElderTrek’s tours are led by a senior and assisted by a youngster.  During the one-hour tour, they will introduce the history and their own stories in places like Tze Wan Shan, Mong Kok, Jordan and Yau Ma Tei.  The younger generation can understand more about both Hong Kong and the older generation through the tours.  ElderTrek is now inviting seniors to be tour guides.  People who are interested can contact them through their website. 
 
Young olds encouraged to go back to career
(Chinese version only)

The Government has made changes continuously to the following policies to encourage healthy seniors aged 50 to 64 and young old aged 65 to 74 to go back to work.
 
  1. Extended the upper age limit of Category B security work from 65 to 70.
  2. Extended the retirement age of civilian staff and disciplined services staff, appointed on or after 1 June 2015, to 65 and 60 respectively.
  3. Provide $4000 on-the-job monthly training allowance, for a period of 6 to 12 months, to employers engaging senior unemployed job seekers or those aged 60 or above who have left employment.
Plain breakfast no good to senior’s health

The Hong Kong Health Care Alliance and The Hong Kong Association of Gerontology interviewed 268 seniors last December about their attitude towards breakfast.  Only 16% of them would consider the nutrition of breakfast, and 70% thought white bread and plain porridge were healthy diet.  Some preferred to take less protein for breakfast on account of slow metabolism, while those who were under diet control for chronic diseases preferred plain food for breakfast.  Dr Leung Man Fuk, Geriatric Medicine and Director of the Hong Kong Association of Gerontology, said that one’s physique gets smaller when one grows old, and the symptoms of malnutrition may not be obvious.  He suggests that seniors should check their BMI index regularly.  The standard should be around 18.5 to 23, and there may be problems if it drops 5% in 3 to 6 months.  Joanne Chan, registered dietitian, said seniors should take in more protein as their muscle loss is faster than young people.  Learn more from our website at “Dining”- Healthy Eating.

 
Finding Missing Elderly with Dementia Mobile App developed by Jockey Club Centre for Positive Ageing help searching for lost dementia relative

The Finding Missing Elderly with Dementia Mobile Apps is developed by the Jockey Club Centre for Positive Ageing.  It is specially designed for looking for missing elderly with dementia.  The Centre was founded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club in June 2008 and is operated by The Chinese University of Hong Kong.  It provides one-stop integrative training services for patients with dementia to delay their decline so as to maintain a normal social life.  The Centre also offers supportive services to relieve the pressure of carers.
 
The Finding Missing Elderly with Dementia Mobile Apps is one of their services.  Family members can register the dementia patient’s information and his/her photo in the apps beforehand.  They can then report the loss of the dementia elderly through the apps in the future.  Members of the public can also download the apps and register as “Dementia Angel” to help find the missing elderly.  The downloading is free!

 
Know more about Chinese and Western medical treatments through “Integrative Medicine Clinical Evidence Portal”

The Integrative Medicine Clinical Evidence Portal is a Chinese and Western Medical treatment website created by The Chinese University of Hong Kong.  It collects the clinical peer randomized trials reviews and systematic reviews about common treatments in the market such as the effectiveness of Echinacea in treating common flu, the effect of acupuncture on cancer treatment, and whether Taichi exercise can improve senior’s sleeping quality?  Readers can understand more about Western, Chinese or other treatments in curing diseases from the science perspective.  This website also contains online training materials on evidence-based healthcare principles and clinical research methodology.  The consultation team is formed by medical professionals including Prof Lin Zhixiu, Director of Hong Kong Institute of Integrative Medicine; Prof. Justin CY Wu, Associate Dean (Development) of Faculty of Medicine; Prof. Leung Ting Hung, Director of School of Chinese Medicine.  Readers can search for  information through the two categories of “Intervention” or “Physical condition” under “Synopsis Database” according to their personal conditions. 

 

Source of Photo: Apple Daily 
 
Smart Living Experience Tour in Science Park

Smart Living@Science Park has been established in the Hong Kong Science Part in Sha Tin.  It is a 500-feet show flat with living room, bedroom, kitchen and toilet.  Visitors can try the thoughtful products designed by local designers and technology companies including the Sit and Shower chair,  360 degree rotating electric wheelchair,  pressure measuring watch,  ring for pre-screening of potential obstructive sleep apnea, etc.  Applications for guided tours from individuals and groups are welcome.

 

Source of the photo: Wen Wei Po
 
Get tickets by swiping Home-visit permits at 215 Express Rail stations in China

Holders of home-visit permits may now get their online railway tickets or buy tickets at designated self-help ticketing machines at 215 Express Rail Link stations in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong, Hunan and Guangdong, etc.

 

 
Call and Care Service connects to Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital

The Senior Citizen Home Safety Association has signed a partnership with the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital for medical services to be provided to Call and Care Service users living or travelling in Shenzhen.  The patient’s medical information will also be sent to the Hospital to facilitate timely response with immediate notification to the emergency contact of elderly users.  The first phase of this service will be launched in July 2017.  Elderly users who need medical help can press the “Safety Button” on their e-Care Link remote to connect to the Association’s 24-hours Call and Care Centre in Hong Kong through roaming services provided by the mobile network service operators.
 

 
The fourth CancerLink Support Centre Open for Service

CancerLink is one of the supportive services of Cancer Fund.  The fourth centre is now open in Wong Tai Sin to help  cancer patients.  Cancer patients, recovered patients, and their families and friends are welcome to learn more about coping with cancer.
 

 
Beware of Phone Scam

Beware and don’t believe in phone messages from people claiming to be from the Immigration Department, transferring calls to law enforcement agencies outside Hong Kong, and requesting information such as bank account numbers and passwords.