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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

Quarantine measures to be adjusted

The Government today said it will adjust the quarantine arrangements for people who have stayed in overseas places other than those that are extremely high-risk and very high-risk under the vaccine bubble concept.   Answering lawmakers’ questions at the Legislative Council, Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan noted that some places are considering or have announced the reduction or lifting of quarantine for vaccinated people as COVID-19 vaccination rates around the world are rapidly increasing.   She explained that the Government made the decision after considering that the epidemic situation in certain places have stabilised and pose lower public health risks.   After the adjustment, the basic boarding and quarantine requirements will remain unchanged for high-risk and medium-risk places, ie Group B and Group C specified places.   New arrangements will be applied to fully vaccinated people who have stayed in these places to shorten their compulsory quarantine period from 21 days to 14 days under the vaccine bubble concept.   The compulsory quarantine period for fully vaccinated people who have stayed in low-risk Group D specified places, ie Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, will also be shortened from 14 days to seven days.   These people will be required to self-monitor for seven days and undergo compulsory testing after completing their shortened quarantine.   Meanwhile, the Government is implementing the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme at full speed.   A higher vaccination rate will give Hong Kong better leverage to negotiate with other places on the arrangements for resuming cross-boundary travel, Prof Chan emphasised.   She said the Government has started to consider procuring the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines to plan for the next phase of the vaccination programme, adding that the protection power of the vaccines against mutant virus strains is an important factor when considering to authorise and procure COVID-19 vaccines in the future.
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