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Balanced approach to curbing virus

(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)   Chief Executive John Lee today said he has asked the Secretary for Health to review the current anti-epidemic measures, aiming to strike a balance between containing the virus spread and reducing the inconvenience to travellers.   Meeting the media this morning before chairing the first meeting of the new-term Executive Council, Mr Lee said the Secretary for Health is considering how the duration of quarantine should be handled.   “I am giving him time to look at the statistics so that he will formulate some options for me to consider.”   At the same time, the Government will strive to keep the COVID-19 pandemic under control and protect those who are more vulnerable to the virus, he noted.   “One of the important measures is to make good use of the polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test so that we can be certain that we will be able to identify those who are infected early, separate

3.7% inflation marked in July

Overall consumer prices rose 3.7% in July year-on-year, larger than the 0.7% growth in June, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Netting out the effects of the Government’s one-off relief measures, July’s underlying inflation rate went up 1% on a year earlier, higher than the 0.4% recorded in June.   The Government said the climb in consumer prices in July was a result of the low base of comparison arising from the Government’s payment of public housing rentals and the Housing Society’s waiver of two-thirds of rent for tenants of Group B estates in July 2020.   Meanwhile, the rising underlying inflation rate was mainly due to the increased costs for meals out and takeaway food as well as local transport fares.   Compared with July last year, price increases were seen in electricity, gas and water, transport, housing, meals out and takeaway food, clothing and footwear, basic food, durable goods and miscellaneous services. On the other hand, year-on-year decreases in miscellaneous goods as well as alcoholic drinks and tobacco were recorded.   The Government commented that the underlying consumer price inflation rate’s 1% surge in July mainly reflected a low base of comparison a year earlier caused by the third wave of the local COVID-19 epidemic and the extra MTR fare discount. Pressures on major consumer price index components remained modest.   Looking ahead, while the continued economic recovery and rising import prices may entail some upward pressures on prices, the underlying inflation should remain largely contained in the near term as the local economy is still operating below capacity, it added.
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