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Welfare cases dip 0.2%

The overall Comprehensive Social Security Assistance caseload dropped by 459 cases to 199,941 in January, down 0.2% from December last year, the Social Welfare Department announced today.   The total number of recipients was 273,349.   Low-earnings cases registered a month-to-month reduction of 0.8% to 1,568. Unemployment cases fell 0.6% to 17,075.   Single parent cases dropped 0.5% to 20,385. Old age cases dipped 0.3% to 112,032.   Meanwhile, ill-health cases increased 0.3% to 27,817, and permanent disability cases remained steady at 17,164.

Beach water quality forecast set

The Environmental Protection Department today launched the Beach Water Quality Forecast System to provide daily water quality forecasts for all gazetted beaches in Hong Kong that are open for swimming.    Relevant data will be updated every morning through the mobile app or the thematic website to assist the public in making plans for water recreation activities.   The department said it conducted a research and development project with the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology using the statistical multiple linear regression model, which takes into account the most relevant and the latest environmental and hydrometeorological parameters to forecast the daily E. coli level in the water of the beaches.   The forecast results are then converted into an easy-to-understand forecast index.    The department explained that the forecast system aims to predict the short-term beach water quality fluctuations arising from changes in hydrometeorological conditions, and supplement the existing Beach Water Quality Monitoring Programme which relies on water quality monitoring data.   The forecast index is categorised into one to four, representing good, fair, poor and very poor respectively. Bathers should avoid swimming at a beach with a forecast result of four ie very poor.

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