Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan says that scrapping the city’s compulsory mask rule is high on the government’s agenda. Speaking on a radio show to discuss the 2023-2024 budget, Chan said that the mask mandate, which was recently extended till March 8, will probably end after the current flu season.

“This policy is still there on health grounds and my colleagues in the Health Bureau have been given a very clear message as to the community aspiration to take off the mask as quickly as possible. This is high on the agenda. [The mask mandate will be lifted] Probably towards the end of this [flu] season,” said Chan.

Currently, anyone over the age of two years old in Hong Kong must wear a mask while on public transport, in paid areas of the MTR, in specified public places, and any venues included in Cap. 599F, such as restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs and clubs. The regulation that governs the mask rule, Cap. 599I, is set to expire on March 31, 2023.

Earlier this year, Chief Executive John expressed hopes that all of the city’s anti-Covid restrictions would end by the first quarter of 2023. The mask mandate is one of the few remaining measures still in force to combat the epidemic, apart from compulsory testing for schoolchildren before they enter campuses and anyone who visits hospitals or care homes.

Header image credits: LN9267 via WikiCommons

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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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