Chief Executive John Lee has stated on Friday that mandatory wearing of masks will continue unless the vaccination rate among vulnerable groups like children increases.

Lee was speaking at a phone-in event surrounding his first policy address broadcasted by state media RTHK, in response to a caller asking if Hong Kongers will be allowed to choose to wear a mask when not in crowded indoor places at some point.

“One thing that has been agreed by all the experts, whether they’re subscribing to one school of thought or others [is] that mask-wearing should continue,” Lee replied, as masks have “been proven to be one of the most effective measures because COVID virus is airborne.”

He reasoned that two children have already suffered serious responses to the disease, one 11-month-old passing away in August and another child still sick. Lee then said if childrens’ vaccination rate increases significantly, then “get[ting] on with normal life without risking this vulnerable group” may be reconsidered.

The Chief Executive said he “understands why the importance” of protecting vulnerable groups has subsided over the past three years of stifling pandemic measures.

At his maiden policy address on Wednesday, Lee outlined plans to increase local tourism, promote Hong Kong pop culture, and target to attract 35,000 new talents to the city using special visas and tax breaks.

Header image credits: Studio Incendo via Flickr

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Born in Canada, Danielle is deep diving into the things that make Hong Kong a city of intermingling identities, and bridging the information gap as someone trying to navigate the city herself as a cultural inbetweener. Sometimes this means examining culture and local people’s stories, and other times it means drinking all the milk tea and doing walking explorations of peripheral districts.

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