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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

COVID-19 mutant strain case probed

(To watch the full press briefing with sign language interpretation, click here.)   The Centre for Health Protection today said it has so far quarantined more than 300 people who have been identified as close contacts, as it follows up on a foreign domestic helper infected with COVID-19 mutant strains.   At a press briefing this afternoon, the centre’s Controller Dr Ronald Lam noted that the N501Y and E484K mutant strains were involved in this case.   “For the COVID-19 case involving a 39-year-old foreign domestic helper, she had onset of symptoms on April 23. So if we count back the average incubation period, that is 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms, she mainly stayed at home to take care of a 10-month-old baby.   “During this incubation period, she mainly visited a supermarket and a market as well as went to a park with two friends. The two friends are regarded as close contacts and we have put them under quarantine.   “She also went to St Thomas the Apostle Church where she performed in a choir with an audience of over 200. Out of the 200 audience members, we have identified 89 close contacts, all of whom have been put under quarantine.    “The 10-month-old baby she took care of is also confirmed COVID-19 positive with the same mutant strain as her case.”   The baby’s parents have tested negative for the virus, Dr Lam added.
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