Hong Kong to lift one of the world’s longest Covid mask mandates


HONG KONG — Hong Kong will lift its mask mandate Wednesday, ending the city’s last major restriction imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The city’s top leader, John Lee, said the requirement will end outdoors and indoors, including public transit, but that some high-risk premises can still require people to wear masks.

Lee’s announcement at a news briefing Tuesday came a day after the neighboring Chinese territory of Macao eased its mask rule and will bring the financial hub closer to the life in pre-pandemic days.

He said the return to normalcy would be beneficial to Hong Kong’s economic development and international competitiveness.

For most of the pandemic, people in Hong Kong have been required to wear a mask in indoor and outdoor public areas. Violators could be fined 5,000 Hong Kong dollars ($637).

Hong Kong had largely followed China’s “zero-Covid” strategy over the last three years and used to have some of the world’s strictest anti-virus rules. In the last six months, the government has taken bigger steps to open up in an attempt to revive its economy and catch up with its rivals such as Singapore.

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