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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

Vaccine recommendations published

The two scientific committees under the Centre for Health Protection convened a meeting today to provide recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccination for those with previous COVID-19 infection.   Joined by the Chief Executive’s expert advisory panel, the committees also discussed the existing evidence on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness against different variants.       The meeting noted that previous COVID-19 infection usually confers immunity for at least six to nine months for the majority of patients. There is accumulating evidence showing that those previously infected with COVID-19 would be further protected by one dose of mRNA vaccines.   After receiving one dose of mRNA vaccine, these people may experience more systemic side effects, such as fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain, fever and joint pain, when compared to those without prior infection.   People who wish to receive the mRNA vaccine should wait for at least 90 days after discharge from previous infection.   The meeting also noted that in general, studies have shown that the existing vaccines work well against the non-variant. The effectiveness data against variants differ by vaccines.   The Fosun Pharma/BioNTech vaccine is effective against the variants which first emerged in the UK and Brazil, but is less effective against the South African one.   There is currently limited efficacy data of CoronaVac developed by Sinovac Biotech (Hong Kong) against variants.   The vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with the University of Oxford is effective against the UK variants but is ineffective against the South African one.   The meeting also agreed that the combination of non-pharmaceutical interventions with vaccination will allow for maximum protection against the virus. There is a need to continue social distancing, good hand hygiene and wearing a mask in public to reduce the risk of transmission.
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