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1.8% inflation in October

Overall consumer prices rose 1.8% in October year-on-year, smaller than the 4.4% increase in September, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Netting out the effects of the Government's one-off relief measures, the underlying inflation rate was 1.7%, slightly less than September's 1.8%.   Compared with October last year, price increases were recorded for electricity, gas and water; clothing and footwear; meals out and takeaway food; basic food; alcoholic drinks and tobacco; transport; miscellaneous services, miscellaneous goods and housing.   On the other hand, a year-on-year decrease in price was recorded for durable goods.    The Government said that underlying consumer price inflation remained moderate in October.   The year-on-year increase in food prices showed some moderation, though remained relatively fast. Prices of clothing and footwear continued to record a visible increase, while those of energy-related items rose sharply. Price pressur

Catering premises flexibility explained

The Food & Environmental Hygiene Department today announced that catering premises may change their modes of operation according to their needs under the prerequisite of fulfilling the vaccine bubble principle.   It said the Government will gazette the directions and specifications under the Prevention & Control of Disease (Requirements & Directions) (Business & Premises) Regulation Cap 599F to give catering premises the flexibility to change their modes of operation according to the requirement in the remaining days of the current cycle of this round of social distancing measures.   The relevant directions and specifications will take effect from May 6 to 12.   Except for bars or pubs which are subject to other requirements, all catering businesses must operate according to one or more modes of operation.   The department explained that the Government noticed that some catering premises were unable to choose type C or D mode of operation at the start of the cycle on April 29 as their staff were unable to receive vaccination in time.   It added that the Government understands that some operators hope to change their modes operation once their staff receive vaccination and therefore accepts the trade’s views on handling the situation flexibly.   According to the regulation’s latest directions, catering premises must display a notice showing the new mode of operation before the change can take effect.   The department reminded catering premises under the type C or D mode of operation that they must register relevant information like their mode of operation and number of staff who have completed or are unsuitable to receive COVID-19 vaccination on its vaccine bubble webpage.   Such premises must also display a floor plan according to specified specifications at its entrance for differentiating and identifying different designated zones. The floor plan may be changed from time to time based on operational needs, but will take effect only after it has been displayed.   The department noted that it will add a tab showing frequently asked questions and answers on the thematic webpage to help the trade and the public understand the operational details.   Furthermore, a scanning app developed by the Government, QR Code Verification Scanner, is now available for download via various smart phone operating systems. Operators of premises may use the app to verify the authenticity of the QR codes of their customers’ COVID-19 vaccination or test records.   The department also reminded catering business operators that according to the directions under Cap 599F, for catering business staff undergoing a polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test for COVID-19, the specimens collected must be through combined nasal and throat swabs.   The staff concerned can make use of the 21 community testing centres and mobile specimen collection stations across the city for testing.
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