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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

Sophia Chan attends WHO meeting

Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan today attended the online meeting of the 72nd session of the World Health Organization Regional Committee for the Western Pacific.        The meeting focused on the anti-epidemic work by members of the regional committee as well as other health-related issues including primary healthcare, use of traditional and complementary medicine and the health of future generations.        Prof Chan said that since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has implemented various anti-epidemic measures including border controls, social distancing, testing, contact tracing, quarantine and a community-wide vaccination programme.   “The Hong Kong SAR Government has responded promptly and successfully to four waves of the epidemic so far with the above measures. It is encouraging to see that Hong Kong has no local cases with unknown sources of infection for most of the days in the past few months and has basically achieved zero infection.   “As the epidemic situation in Hong Kong continues to remain stable, we have adopted a new direction in fighting the epidemic since April by adjusting various anti-epidemic measures with a vaccine bubble as the basis with a view to restoring our city to normality in a gradual and orderly manner."   Noting that Hong Kong will stay vigilant to cope with next wave of the epidemic, Prof Chan said the Hong Kong SAR Government will consolidate the experience gained, strengthen its current capacities and map out targeted and refined strategies.   Looking forward, the health chief said that it is important for Hong Kong and the international community to continue to press ahead with large-scale vaccination for public, particularly the elderly, to build an immune barrier for the community.   “On the other hand, as Hong Kong is gradually returning to normality, we would put greater focus and efforts on other priority areas in the health portfolio including strengthening primary healthcare and developing Chinese medicine,” she added.
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