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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

July retail sales up 2.9%

The value of total retail sales in July, provisionally estimated at $27.2 billion, rose 2.9% compared with the same month in 2020, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Of the total retail sales value in July, online sales accounted for 7.5%. Provisionally estimated at $2.1 billion, the value of online retail sales increased 29% 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 0.9% compared with a year earlier.   The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks and valuable gifts increased 27.1%.   This was followed by sales of other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified (+15.8% in value); wearing apparel (+30.7%); medicines and cosmetics (+0.5%); motor vehicles and parts (+25%); fuels (+12.8%); furniture and fixtures (+0.6%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (+9.8%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+30.5%); and optical shops (+8.9%).   The value of sales of commodities in supermarkets decreased 19.4% for the period, followed by sales of commodities in department stores (-9.6% in value); food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (-5.7%); electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified (-2.5%); and Chinese drugs and herbs (-2.3%).   The Government said that retail sales continued to increase in July over a year earlier as the local epidemic remained stable and labour market situations improved further, although the growth pace moderated as compared to the preceding month.   Looking ahead, the Government noted that the electronic consumption vouchers that it began to disburse in August have helped stimulate consumption sentiment and will render support to the retail business in the rest of the year.   However, it is essential for the community to keep the epidemic under control and strive towards more widespread vaccination so as to strengthen the foundation for continued recovery of the retail sector and the overall economy, it added.
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