Hong Kong’s nearly 1,000-day-long mask mandate will come to an end on March 1, said Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Lee said that members of the public only have to wear masks in specific places, such as hospitals and residential care homes.

“After looking at all the data, the trend, and the fact that the winter surge is nearing the end, in order to give people a very clear message that Hong Kong is resuming normalcy, I think this is the right time to make the decision. That is why today I made the announcement to lift the masking mandate as soon as possible, starting from tomorrow.” said Lee.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee and Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mao make the announcement about removing the city’s mask mandate, starting March 1.

The SAR was the last major city in the world with a mandatory outdoor mask rule, after Macau scrapped its outdoor mask requirement on February 27. Mask-wearing as a measure to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 came into effect in Hong Kong on July 23, 2020. In late 2022, the government began relaxing the requirement by allowing members of the public to remove their masks while taking photographs and eating and drinking outdoors.

Authorities had previously extended the rule until March 8, and the legislation that governs the mask mandate will expire on March 31, along with other regulations that cover anti-Covid restrictions, such as quarantine for travellers and isolation for Covid-19 patients.

Hong Kong began relaxing its anti-epidemic restrictions at the end of 2022, and most recently began allowing unvaccinated tourists to enter the city and not enforcing home or hospital isolation for Covid-19 patients. The only restriction that remains is the rapid antigen testing requirement for all international arrivals, schoolchildren, and anyone who enters a hospital or care home.

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Header image credits: Kay Lau via Unsplash

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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