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HK urged to support breastfeeding

Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan today appealed for cross-sectoral collaboration in promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding to mark World Breastfeeding Week 2021.   To support breastfeeding in Hong Kong, the Government has enacted laws including the extension of statutory paternity leave to five days, extension of statutory maternity leave from 10 to 14 weeks, and amendments to the Sex Discrimination Ordinance which prohibits discrimination and harassment towards breastfeeding women.   The Department of Health also began procedures in March this year to pursue the designation of five more Maternal & Child Health Centres to support and facilitate breastfeeding.   The "Breastfeeding GPS" mobile app, which contains the latest information of over 430 baby care rooms to help parents locate breastfeeding facilities all over Hong Kong was launched in September last year.   The Government has also been promoting and supporting breastfeeding thro

March retail sales up 20.1%

The value of total retail sales in March, provisionally estimated at $27.6 billion, rose 20.1% compared with the same month in 2020, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   Of the total retail sales value in March, online sales accounted for 7.7%. Provisionally estimated at $2.1 billion, the value of online retail sales increased 43.3% year-on-year.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the volume of total retail sales for the month increased 19.8% compared with a year earlier.   The value of sales of other consumer goods, not elsewhere classified increased 35.2%.   This was followed by sales of electrical goods and other consumer durable goods, not elsewhere classified (+44.8% in value); jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts (+81%); wearing apparel (+77.4%); commodities in department stores (+2.2%); medicines and cosmetics (+18%); motor vehicles and parts (+23.1%); fuels (+18.8%); furniture and fixtures (+12.5%); footwear, allied products and other clothing accessories (+64.1%); books, newspapers, stationery and gifts (+19.2%); Chinese drugs and herbs (+27.7%); and optical shops (+29.1%).   The value of sales of commodities in supermarkets decreased 16.1% for the period, followed by sales of food, alcoholic drinks and tobacco (-1.8% in value).   The Government said retail sales registered a notable year-on-year increase in March, mainly due to an exceptionally low base of comparison last year. For the first quarter as a whole, retail sales volume rose 7.2% over a year earlier, but was still far below that in the first quarter of 2019 by 32.5%.   Looking ahead, the Government pointed out that while local consumption sentiment saw some improvement following the gradual relaxation of social distancing measures since mid-February, the near-term outlook for the retail trade is still challenging as inbound tourism remains in the doldrums.   To attain a stronger revival of the retail trade and a broader-based economic recovery, it is essential for the community to work together to keep the epidemic under control and to actively participate in the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, it added.
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