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Over 3.1k virus cases identified

The Centre for Health Protection today said it is investigating 3,172 additional locally acquired COVID-19 cases, of which 449 were identified through nucleic acid tests and 2,723 via rapid antigen tests.   Separately, 111 imported cases were detected.   Furthermore, seven residential care homes for the elderly and five for disabled people logged 13 cases involving their residents.   The Hospital Authority reported that 20 patients passed away in public hospitals. According to a preliminary analysis, the cause of death for nine patients was related to COVID-19, while that of the remaining 11 patients was unrelated.   It also registered eight more critical cases, bringing the number of patients in critical condition to 93.   Separately, to align with the Government’s cancellation of issuing isolation orders from tomorrow, the authority will, starting from the same day, announce at 8.30am and 1pm the information of general out-patient clinics (GOPC) quota reserved for COVID-19

December retail sales up 6.2%

The value of total retail sales in December, provisionally estimated at $33.3 billion, rose 6.2% compared with the same month in 2020, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Of the total retail sales value in December, online sales accounted for 10.8%. Provisionally estimated at $3.6 billion, the value of online retail sales increased 31.5% year-on-year.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate of the volume of total retail sales for the month increased 3.4% compared with a year earlier.   The value of sales of electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified increased 5.5%.   This was followed by sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+24% in value); other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (+10.8%); commodities in department stores (+2.5%); wearing apparel (+12%); medicines and cosmetics (+9.7%); motor vehicles and parts (+8.7%); fuels (+18.4%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+15.5%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+4.7%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (+7.8%); and optical shops (+25.1%).   The value of sales of commodities in supermarkets decreased 6.8% for the period, followed by sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (-3% in value); and furniture and fixtures (-4.1%).   The Government said that the value of total retail sales increased further by 6.2% year-on-year in December along with the continued economic recovery, though the growth pace moderated somewhat from the preceding month. For 2021 as a whole, total retail sales value rose 8.1% but was still 27.2% below the level in 2018 before the recession as tourism stayed at a standstill.   Looking ahead, the Government noted that the latest wave of the local epidemic and tightened anti-epidemic measures have weighed on consumption sentiment and posed renewed pressures on the retail sector.   It is essential for the community to work together with the Government to contain the epidemic as soon as possible to create conditions for the continued revival of retail business and the overall economy, it added.
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