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Daily Archives: January 30, 2022

China Official NBS Non-manufacturing PMI Declined to a 5-month Low in January 2022

Source : Trading Economics

China Manufacturing PMIs Down in January 2021

Source : Trading Economics

Humour: News in Cartoons

駱惠寧新春致辭話裏有話 指明香港未來特首兩大關鍵任務

作者: 杭子牙 . . . . . . . . .

香港中聯辦主任駱惠寧在1月26日發表題為《讓歷史之光照亮香港未來》的新春致辭,當中指出未來治港的兩大關鍵任務,並就此提出明確要求。

駱惠寧先以宏觀視野對比分析國際與國內局勢,認為「過去一年,是國家『兩個一百年』奮鬥目標相交匯的一年。世界百年未有之大變局和新冠肺炎疫情全球大流行交織影響,中國之治與西方之亂形成鮮明對比。」

接着對過去一年的治港工作進行總結,認為「過去一年,是香港開啟『一國兩制』新局面的一年。隨着香港國安法深入實施,選舉制度修改完善,兩場重要選舉成功舉行,『愛國者治港』原則得到落實,香港氣象一新」,並且警告「一切反中亂港勢力妄想搞亂香港這個家的圖謀永遠不會得逞」。

隨後用三個自問自答的設問方式,分別從歷史自信、歷史自覺、歷史主動的維度,就香港的「一國兩制」、未來前景、如何實現良政善治等三個香港社會高度關切的問題發表看法。其中尤為值得注意的是,在「香港如何實現良政善治」這一部分,他還指出未來治港的兩大關鍵任務,並就如何做好這些工作對香港社會尤其是香港特區管治團隊提出明確要求。

駱惠寧在此說道:「期待良政善治新局面,這是符合歷史發展大邏輯的。但也要看到,良政善治是一個過程,實現這個願景,還有一些制度和機制需要建立健全,還有不少深層次矛盾和問題需要推動解決。還要看到,『樹欲靜而風不止』,總有那麼一些勢力不會善罷甘休。以為可以『躺贏』而懈怠,或是遇到難題就繞道,只會失去奮鬥的激情和變革的勇氣。更要看到,良政善治,既要靠特區管治團隊的積極作為,也要靠社會各界的共同努力。眼下最重要的是同心抗疫,共克時艱。」

很明顯,在香港實現良政善治,除了眼下最重要的防疫工作,未來關鍵工作主要有兩項,一是要繼續建立健全「制度和機制」,二是要推動解決「深層次矛盾和問題」。那麼,要繼續建立健全哪些「制度與機制」,又有哪些「深層次矛盾和問題」需要推動解決呢?這個問題的答案,需要到三年前中共十九屆四中全會通過的「決定」中去尋找。

2019年10月31日,中共十九屆四中全會通過了全稱為《中共中央關於堅持和完善中國特色社會主義制度 推進國家治理體系和治理能力現代化若干重大問題的決定》,從這個決定的名稱就可以看出,它是一個指明中國政治制度頂層設計構想的指導性文件,其在頂層政制設計層面的分量,不亞於2013年中共十八屆三中全會通過的描繪習時代一攬子「全面深化改革」措施的另一份綱領性文件。

該決定第十二章第二節「健全中央依照憲法和基本法對特別行政區行使全面管治權的制度」寫道:「完善中央對特別行政區行政長官和主要官員的任免制度和機制、全國人大常委會對基本法的解釋制度,依法行使憲法和基本法賦予中央的各項權力。建立健全特別行政區維護國家安全的法律制度和執行機制,支持特別行政區強化執法力量。健全特別行政區行政長官對中央政府負責的制度,支持行政長官和特別行政區政府依法施政。完善香港、澳門融入國家發展大局、同內地優勢互補、協同發展機制,推進粵港澳大灣區建設,支持香港、澳門發展經濟、改善民生,着力解決影響社會穩定和長遠發展的深層次矛盾和問題。加強對香港、澳門社會特別是公職人員和青少年的憲法和基本法教育、國情教育、中國歷史和中華文化教育,增強香港、澳門同胞國家意識和愛國精神。堅決防範和遏制外部勢力干預港澳事務和進行分裂、顛覆、滲透、破壞活動,確保香港、澳門長治久安。」

依照上述制度建構構想,過去兩年,北京先後通過「港區國安法」和「關於完善香港特區選舉制度的決定」,並在香港落地實施,從而有效防範和遏制外部勢力介入顛覆香港事務。所以接下來北京在建立健全「制度和機制」方面,至少將圍繞以下五個方面展開:第一,完善中央對特別行政區行政長官和主要官員的任免制度和機制、全國人大常委會對基本法的解釋制度;第二,建立健全特別行政區維護國家安全的法律制度和執行機制,支持特別行政區強化執法力量,主要是指香港本地的23條立法;第三,健全特別行政區行政長官對中央政府負責的制度;第四,完善香港融入國家發展大局、同內地優勢互補、協同發展機制,並且在機制層面為解決香港的「深層次矛盾和問題」破除障礙;第五,在教育層面將強化國民教育,使得港人在精神上能建立牢固的國家意識。

駱惠寧新春致辭中要推動解決的「深層次矛盾和問題」主要集中在經濟民生層面。

有關香港面臨的「深層次矛盾和問題」,《香港01》之前已多次作過系統論述,我們認為正是這些由來已久的、從港英殖民時代就開始積累的深層次經濟民生問題,在根本上導致了香港分離主義的產生,成為2014年香港「佔中」和2019年大騷亂的根本原因。近三年來,這一問題逐漸成為北京與香港社會的共識,在香港媒體與市民社會、管治團隊、各政黨中獲得普遍認同,也進入中央政府決策視線,上述2019年發布的中共十九屆四中全會決定就指出這個問題,並且明確表示要「支持香港、澳門發展經濟、改善民生,着力解決影響社會穩定和長遠發展的深層次矛盾和問題。」駱惠寧今次新春致辭再次彰顯解決這一問題的必要性與緊迫性。

除了上述兩大關鍵任務,駱惠寧在致辭中還就如何實現良政善治對香港社會與港府管治團隊提出要求,警示香港社會要有實幹精神,要「共同努力」,不能「失去奮鬥的激情和變革的勇氣」,特區管治團隊也要「積極有為」。在香港政治與社會發展正經歷歷史性重構的重要時刻,在轉軌期市民社會士氣低落的迷茫階段,在兩大治港關鍵任務面前,這一要求對香港社會與港府管治團隊而言尤為重要,尤其是即將選舉產生的新一屆港府管治團隊。


Source : HK01

香港中聯辦駱惠寧新春致辭全文

各位朋友,各位市民:

大家好!虎年新春即將到來,我代表中聯辦全體同仁,給屏幕前的各位、給廣大香港市民拜個早年!

過去一年,是國家「兩個一百年」奮鬥目標相交匯的一年。世界百年未有之大變局和新冠肺炎疫情全球大流行交織影響,中國之治與西方之亂形成鮮明對比。中國共產黨帶領中國人民經過長期奮鬥,如期實現了第一個百年奮鬥目標,在中華大地上全面建成了小康社會,正意氣風發向著全面建成社會主義現代化強國的第二個百年奮鬥目標邁進。一個堅韌不拔、欣欣向榮的中國告訴我們,實現中華民族偉大覆興已經進入不可逆轉的歷史進程。

過去一年,是香港開啟「一國兩制」新局面的一年。隨著香港國安法深入實施,選舉制度修改完善,兩場重要選舉成功舉行,「愛國者治港」原則得到落實,香港氣象一新。忘不了慶祝中國共產黨百年華誕,維港兩岸喜慶熱烈的氛圍;忘不了選委會、立法會選舉,候選人比政綱、擺街站、訪選民的場景;忘不了全港中小學校園,孩子們開始每天面向五星紅旗註目行禮,也忘不了我和中聯辦同事一起登漁船、走籠屋、訪商戶、探街坊,切身體會到大家對重獲安寧的欣慰、對更好生活的期盼。一個由亂到治、開啟新局的香港告訴我們,一切反中亂港勢力妄想搞亂香港這個家的圖謀永遠不會得逞。

各位朋友、各位市民!

習近平主席深刻指出,「歷史是一面鏡子,它照亮現實,也照亮未來」。當前,香港「一國兩制」實踐已經站在新的歷史起點上,要回答好前進道路上各界長期關心、市民普遍關註的重大問題,尤其需要我們從歷史中獲得智慧、汲取力量。

有人問,對香港的「一國兩制」怎麽看?我要說,香港回歸以來走過的非凡歷程,足以讓我們對「一國兩制」充滿歷史自信。習近平主席在多個重要場合指出,「一國兩制」是行得通、辦得到、得人心的,上個月再次強調「中央將繼續堅定不移貫徹『一國兩制』方針」。近25年來,盡管遭受過重大疫情和經濟危機的沖擊,經歷過「黑暴」「攬炒」的嚴峻局面,盡管總有人企圖將民主發展引入歧途,總有人從未放棄搞亂香港,但在中國共產黨的堅強領導下,在祖國內地的堅定支持下,香港不僅頂住了,而且站穩了,「東方之珠」塵霾洗盡、魅力之都更勝往昔。回顧走過的路,那些唱衰「一國兩制」的從未如願、破壞 「一國兩制」的不得人心。事實證明,中國共產黨創立、發展和捍衛的「一國兩制」好,與國家同發展共進步的道路對,當家作主的香港同胞行!

有人問,對香港的發展前景怎麽看?我要說,未來充滿希望,關鍵是要有堅定融入國家發展大局的歷史自覺。香港的發展面臨挑戰,不進則退。但也要看到,香港獨有的優勢仍在,競爭的實力仍強,在新冠疫情沖擊下仍然實現了恢覆性增長,全球競爭力排名依然靠前。更重要的是,世界的機遇在中國,香港的機遇在內地。新時代新征程上,中央更加重視香港的特殊優勢和獨特作用,一系列戰略規劃中都有「香港角色」,香港融入國家發展大局的「接口」在不斷增多。那些感嘆香港作用弱化的悲觀情緒,那些猶豫不決的裹足行為,只會讓香港錯失機遇。中華民族偉大覆興的大勢不可阻擋,世界發展進步的潮流浩浩蕩蕩。只要把「發揮自身所長、對接國家所需」這篇大文章做好,香港就一定能在百年未有之大變局中有更大擔當,在建設現代化強國的新征程上有更大作為。

有人問,對香港實現良政善治怎麽看?我要說,機遇條件前所未有,但還要有乘勢而上、穩中求進的歷史主動。去年以來,很多人感慨,香港變了,前行的路更寬了,大家都滿懷熱忱,期待良政善治新局面,這是符合歷史發展大邏輯的。但也要看到,良政善治是一個過程,實現這個願景,還有一些制度和機制需要建立健全,還有不少深層次矛盾和問題需要推動解決。還要看到,「樹欲靜而風不止」,總有那麽一些勢力不會善罷甘休。以為可以「躺贏」而懈怠,或是遇到難題就繞道,只會失去奮鬥的激情和變革的勇氣。更要看到,良政善治,既要靠特區管治團隊的積極作為,也要靠社會各界的共同努力。眼下最重要的是同心抗疫,共克時艱。相信只要大家攜起手來,齊心攻堅克難,香港這個家就一定能持續向好、不負眾望。

各位朋友,各位市民!

習近平主席在今年的新年賀詞中深情談到,「祖國一直牽掛著香港、澳門的繁榮穩定。只有和衷共濟、共同努力,『一國兩制』才能行穩致遠」。中聯辦與廣大香港同胞同處獅子山下,與大家和衷共濟、共同努力是我們的份內之責。新的一年,我們將恪盡職守、忠誠履職,繼續推動落實中央全面管治權,繼續堅定支持特區政府依法施政,繼續廣泛深入聽取市民心聲,繼續當好香港與內地的橋梁紐帶,與廣大香港同胞一道,共同推動香港這個家走向更加美好的未來!

祝大家虎年身體健康,心想事成,虎虎生威!謝謝!


Source : HK01

Denmark Becomes First EU Country to Scrap All COVID-19 Restrictions

Alex Glenn wrote . . . . . . . . .

Denmark becomes the first EU country to scrap all COVID-19 restrictions despite a rising number of cases.

The coronavirus will no longer be considered a “critical” disease in Denmark. The country will lift coronavirus restrictions brought in due to the fourth wave of the virus. Restrictions will be dropped on Tuesday, February 1.

The decision has been made despite the growing number of cases in the country. The government made the announcement and said that the omicron variant poses a lower danger. The government also commented that a high number of people have now been jabbed against the virus.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen commented: “We are ready to come out of the shadow of the coronavirus, we say goodbye to the restrictions and welcome the life we had before. The pandemic continues, but we have passed the critical stage.”

Coronavirus restrictions such as masks being worn indoors will be ditched. All restrictions in restaurants and cultural venues and people’s social lives will also be removed. Nightlife venues in Denmark will also be allowed to reopen.

Frederiksen added: “It may seem strange and paradoxical that we are eliminating the restrictions with the current levels of contagion, but we have to look at more figures, one of the most important is the number of seriously ill people and that curve has been broken.”


Source : Euro Weekly News

Breakthrough Infections With SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Despite mRNA Vaccine Booster Dose

Constanze Kuhlmann, Carla Konstanze Mayer, et al. wrote . . . . . . . . .

The most recent SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern to emerge has been named omicron. Its immune evasion potential was predicted by genomic data and has been preliminarily confirmed by observations of an increased incidence of reinfections and breakthrough infections. This has triggered calls to intensify vaccination programmes including provision of vaccine booster doses.

A group of German visitors who had received three doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, including at least two doses of an mRNA vaccine, experienced breakthrough infections with omicron between late November and early December, 2021, while in Cape Town, South Africa. The group consisted of five White women and two White men) with an average age of 27·7 years (range 25–39) and a mean body-mass index of 22·2 kg/m2 (range 17·9–29·4), with no relevant medical history. Four of the individuals were participating in clinical elective training at different hospitals in Cape Town, whereas the others were on vacation. The individuals were members of two unlinked social groups and participated in regular social life in Cape Town, in compliance with applicable COVID-19 protocols. Upon arrival during the first half of November, 2021, each individual tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR and provided records of complete vaccination, including booster or third, doses administered via intramuscular injection using homologous (n=5) and heterologous (n=2) vaccination courses (appendix p 3).

Six individuals were fully vaccinated with BNT162b2 (Comirnaty, Pfizer–BioNTech, Mainz, Germany), five of whom received a third (booster) dose of BNT162b2 in October or early November, 2021. One individual had received a full dose of CX-024414 (Spikevax, Moderna, Cambridge, MA, USA) in early October, 2021; this was not in line with the European Medicines Agency recommendations at that time, which suggested a half dose to boost healthy individuals.5 The seventh individual received an initial dose of ChAdOx1-S (Vaxzevria, AstraZeneca, Cambridge, UK), followed by a dose of BNT162b2 for completion of primary immunisation, and a booster dose of the same vaccine. Except for the CX-024414 booster, all vaccinations were in accordance with European recommendations.4, 5 The early timepoints of some individuals’ primary and booster vaccinations were due to their occupation in the medical field. Nobody reported a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

During a marked increase in incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the Western Cape province, these individuals observed onset of respiratory symptoms between Nov 30 and Dec 2, 2021. SARS-CoV-2 infections were diagnosed by ISO 15189-accredited diagnostic laboratories using molecular assays approved by the national regulator.

The investigation was approved by the Health Research Ethics Committees of Stellenbosch University (C21/12/004_COVID-19) and the University of Cape Town (279/2021) and all participants provided informed consent.

We obtained swab and serum samples 2–4 days after onset of symptoms. Futher details of how samples were processed are provided in the appendix (p 2). All patients were placed in domestic isolation and used a daily symptom diary to document the course of disease during the observation period of 21 days.

Illness was classified as mild (n=4) or moderate (n=3; shortness of breath) according to National Institutes of Health COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines. Two individuals were asymptomatic by the end of the observation period (day 21). Blood oxygenation levels (SPO2) remained in the normal range (>94%) without exception and none of the patients required hospitalisation. Prevalence of symptoms over time is provided in the appendix (p 4).

All seven individuals were infected with omicron (PANGO lineage B.1.1.529, Nextstrain clade 21K). Viral loads ranged from 4·07 to 8·22 (mean 6·38) log10 viral RNA copies per mL of swab eluate. Anti-spike antibody levels ranged from 15 000 arbitrary units (AU) per mL to more than 40 000 AU/mL, with a mean of approximately 22 000 AU/mL of serum (appendix p 3).

Robust CD4 and CD8 T-cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 spike, nucleocapsid, and membrane proteins were detected in six of the participants tested after a minimum of 2 weeks after onset of symptoms (appendix p 5), at frequencies of 0·011–0·192% for CD4+ and 0·004–0·079% for CD8+ T cells.

These were the first documented breakthrough infections with the omicron variant in fully vaccinated individuals after receipt of booster vaccine doses. Some of these individuals had received heterologous vaccine doses, in line with emerging global practice. Booster doses were administered 21–37 weeks after the second vaccine doses, and breakthrough infections occurred 22–59 days thereafter. At the onset of their breakthrough infections, all individuals had high levels of viral spike protein binding antibodies, similar to levels reported 4 weeks following second vaccine doses6 and as expected after receipt of booster vaccine doses.

Viral RNA loads in omicron variant infections have yet to be reported. It remains unknown whether the viral loads observed in our group are different from those in unvaccinated, or differently vaccinated, individuals. During wild-type SARS-CoV-2 infection, an average viral RNA load of 5·83 log10 viral RNA copies per swab was found in samples taken up to day after onset of symptoms,8 with a maximum of 8·85 log10 viral RNA copies per swab. In this group of individuals, an average of 6·38 log10 viral RNA copies per mL of eluted swab was detected, with the highest viral load (8·22 log10) detected on day 4 after onset of symptoms. This suggests that the individuals were infectious, in keeping with the occurrence of infection clusters sparing none of the members of the two groups.

Specific T-cell responses were detected in all participants tested at least 2 weeks after symptom onset, in the range reported after vaccination, with additional T-cell responses to the viral nucleocapsid and membrane proteins.
The mild to moderate course of illness suggests that full vaccination followed by a booster dose still provides good protection against severe disease caused by omicron. However, we cannot exclude long-term sequelae of COVID-19. Furthermore, our findings are limited to a low number of individuals in relatively young and otherwise healthy individuals (n=7). This case series adds further evidence that, as predicted, omicron is able to evade immunity induced by mRNA vaccines in vivo. South Africa only recently introduced booster vaccinations for individuals immunised with two doses of BNT162b2, so the presence of this group from Germany presented a unique opportunity to study omicron breakthrough infections in individuals with mRNA vaccine boosters.

In-vitro data suggest lower titres of neutralising antibodies against omicron compared to other SARS-CoV-2 lineages following BNT162b2 vaccination but increased titres after a third dose, supporting calls for booster doses while the omicron variant appears to be spreading globally. Our study, however, demonstrates insufficient prevention of symptomatic infection in otherwise healthy individuals who had received three doses of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.
These findings support the need for updated vaccines to provide better protection against symptomatic infection with omicron13 and emphasise that non-pharmaceutical measures should be maintained. Encouragingly, early data from South Africa suggest maintained if reduced effectiveness of the BNT162b2 vaccine against hospital admission.


Source : Lancet