Hong Kong scraps mask mandate after almost 1,000 days

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Hong Kong is scrapping its mask mandate from Wednesday, Chief Executive John Lee announced, ending the financial hub’s last major COVID-19 curb as it seeks to emerge from the pandemic.

The city was one of the last places in the world to require face coverings in virtually all public settings, with everyone over the age of two required to wear one or face a fine of up to HK$10,000 ($1,275).

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“I announce that the masking requirement will be completely cancelled starting tomorrow, March 1, including for indoors, outdoors and (on) public transportation,” Lee said at a brief press conference on Tuesday.

He added that hospitals and elderly homes can impose their own restrictions.

The mask mandate was imposed three years ago, and had remained in place for nearly 1,000 days.

Hong Kong’s lifting of its restrictions comes after the neighbouring Chinese territory of Macau relaxed its own mask rules on Monday, dropping the measure except for high-risk public areas, such as hospitals.

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