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Jan retail sales up 0.9%

The value of total retail sales in January, provisionally estimated at $36.5 billion, rose 0.9% compared with the same month in 2023, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate represents a 1.2% year-on-year decrease.   Of the total retail sales value in January, online sales accounted for 6.5%. Provisionally estimated at $2.4 billion, the value of this segment went down by 20.9% compared with a year earlier.   Noting that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, the department said the year-on-year comparison of the figures might have been affected to a certain extent.   The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased 25.2% compared with January 2023.   Increases were also recorded in the sales of other consumer goods not elsewhere classified (up 7

Social distancing measures extended

The Government today announced the social distancing measures currently in place will be maintained until January 27.   The Food & Health Bureau said the COVID-19 epidemic situation in Hong Kong remains volatile, noting the latest seven-day average number of local cases with unknown sources of infection was 17 and a number of confirmed cases were found in certain districts over a short period of time, which shows that silent transmission in the community is still active.   Taking into account the latest public health risk assessment, the Government will maintain existing requirements and restrictions applicable to catering business premises and scheduled premises.   Unless exempted, the prohibition on group gatherings of more than two people in public places will continue during the seven-day period from January 21.   The requirement for wearing a mask at all times when on public transport and in all public places will also remain in effect.   The Government will soon gazette directions and specifications under three relevant regulations.   The Government also announced that it will restrict people who have stayed in Brazil or Ireland from boarding flights for Hong Kong as cases caused by the new virus variant with high transmissibility were found in the two countries recently.   Under the specifications that will take effect from midnight on January 23, all people who have stayed in Brazil or Ireland for more than two hours on the day of boarding or during the 21 days before that day will not be allowed to board for Hong Kong.
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