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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

2 restricted areas set

The Government today made restriction-testing declarations to require people within specified restricted areas in Jordan and Sham Shui Po to stay in their premises and undergo compulsory testing for COVID-19.   The restricted areas include Man Ying Building, 2-24 Man Ying Street, Ferry Point in Jordan and Hang On Building, 88-90 Fuk Wing Street/46A-46C Kweilin Street in Sham Shui Po.   The declaration for Jordan took effect from 7pm and the one for Sham Shui Po began at 8.30pm.   Temporary specimen collection stations will be set up at the restricted areas. The Government requested relevant people in the Jordan restricted area to undergo testing before 2am on February 9, while those within the Sham Shui Po one have to get tested before midnight.   They will be arranged to undergo nucleic acid testing at the stations where staff will collect samples through combined nasal and throat swabs.   The Government will arrange door-to-door specimen collection for people with impaired mobility and seniors.   It aims to finish the exercises at about 7am tomorrow.   Those in the two restricted areas who have undergone testing from February 6 to 8 and can provide an SMS notification containing the test results are not required to be tested again. However, they must stay in their premises until everyone in the areas have been tested and the results are mostly ascertained.   According to the compulsory testing notice issued today, anyone who had been at these buildings for more than two hours from January 26 to February 8, even if they were not present in the restricted areas at the time when the declarations took effect, must undergo compulsory testing by February 10.   The Government has prepared simple food and basic cleaning supplies for the residents restricted by the declarations. The Home Affairs Department has set up a hotline 2835 1473 for these residents to make enquiries and seek assistance and a hotline 3755 6816 for ethnic minorities. The Social Welfare Department will also assist those affected.   Meanwhile, the Home Affairs Department announced that it will provide free rapid antigen test kits to residents of the seven buildings near the Jordan restricted area today on a pilot scheme basis.   The decision was made because the buildings, namely Man Cheong Building, Man Yiu Building, Man Fai Building, Man King Building, Man Wai Building, Man Yuen Building and Man Wah Building, are near Man Ying Building and some residents may be worried about the possible infection risk.   The department has arranged staff to distribute the test kits and masks to relevant residents before 11pm and urged them to take the test by themselves.   It will arrange for the testing agency of the restricted area to conduct follow-up testing for the residents concerned if there is any suspected case.
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