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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

1.7% inflation in Mar

Overall consumer prices rose 1.7% in March year-on-year, larger than the 1.6% increase in February, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Netting out the effects of the Government’s one-off relief measures, the year-on-year rate of increase in March’s underlying inflation rate was also 1.7%, larger than the average increase rate of 1.5% in January and February.   Compared with March last year, price increases were recorded for basic food; transport; clothing and footwear; meals out and takeaway food; durable goods; miscellaneous services and miscellaneous goods.   On the other hand, decreases in electricity, gas and water and housing were recorded.   For alcoholic drinks and tobacco, there was no change in price.   The Government said that the elevated prices of fresh vegetables in the month gave rise to the price surge of basic food over a year earlier. Prices of energy-related items and transport also recorded visible increases.   Looking ahead, the Government said inflation in many major economies may stay high in the near term amid heightened geopolitical risks and supply and transportation bottlenecks, leading to faster increases in the prices of imported items.   Still, the overall inflation should remain largely in check as domestic rentals stay soft, it added.
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