Hong Kong to abolish COVID mask mandate from March 1


HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong Chief Executive Officer John Lee said on Thursday that he would drop the requirement to wear a face mask to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). imposed on financial hubs.

The measure will take effect from Wednesday, Li said at a press conference. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is one of the last places in the world to still impose mask mandates.

Both Hong Kong and Macau have followed China’s zero COVID policy for most of the past three years. Hong Kong started easing its strict COVID rules last year, but mask-wearing has remained constant since 2020.

“We believe this is the best time to make this decision. It is a clear message that Hong Kong is resuming normalization,” Lee said.

In high-risk locations such as hospitals, management can decide whether to require staff and visitors to wear masks, he said.

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People wearing face masks walk in Wan Chai during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hong Kong, China, April 14, 2022. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Neighboring Special Administrative Region of Macau announced on February 26 that it would lift COVID 19-related mask requirements in most places, with the exception of public transportation, hospitals and a few other areas.

In mainland China, residents are not required to wear masks outdoors, but authorities recommend wearing them in public indoor areas such as airports and train stations.

Hong Kong’s move to scrap masks comes after the government earlier this month launched a promotional campaign called “Hello Hong Kong” to lure back tourists and businesses that have been avoiding the former British colony since 2020.

Hong Kong has adhered to mask rules, even in schools where children as young as two are required to wear masks outside the home. I am concerned about the impact.

Students are still required to take a daily rapid antigen test to check for COVID, but officials announced last week that this would be abolished for secondary school students and primary and nursery schools from March 15.

Business groups, diplomats and many residents have denounced Hong Kong’s COVID-19 rules, saying they threaten Hong Kong’s competitiveness and status as an international financial center.

Reported by Hong Kong Newsroom. Written by Farrer Master. Edited by Shri Navaratnam and Michael Perry

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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