【明報專訊】THE COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to the global economy. Its impact on Hong Kong is also unprecedented. Retail sales tumbled by 44% in February, the biggest fall ever. In response to the pandemic, the Hong Kong government proposed new measures that limit the number of people in restaurants and prohibit gatherings of more than four people in public venues. This will inevitably add to the plight of the economy. It is necessary for the government to strengthen relief measures to prop up the economy and protect jobs in the short term so as to support industries and employees affected. At the same time, it has to be prepared for a protracted war.