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Govt to give reusable face masks to all HK residents

2020-05-03 HKT 15:26
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  • Govt to give reusable face masks to all HK residents
The government will give each Hong Kong resident a reusable face mask next week, leading microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung revealed on Sunday.

The Hong Kong University professor said he was told by the Permanent Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Annie Choi, that the filters of the reusable face masks could be replaced and the masks could be washed up to 60 times.

The Innovation and Technology Bureau said preparation work for the distribution of reusable masks had entered the final stage, and that an announcement would be made as soon as possible.

Speaking to reporters after a television interview, Yuen praised the move as he reiterated the importance of wearing face masks to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“We notice that all cluster infections in Hong Kong happened when people didn’t wear face masks at restaurants, karaokes, bars, gyms etc, so you can see wearing face masks is really important,” he said.

“I hope residents don’t have to worry anymore after they get the reusable face masks, because it’s still difficult to buy face masks, which are quite expensive,” he said.

In light of zero or few new daily Covid-19 infections in recent weeks, Yuen said the government could relax social-distancing rules for people to carry on with their lives and economic activity to resume. However, he said the measures should be tightened again if infections in the community emerged again.

He said, for example, it is perfectly safe for people to go to the movies or concert, as long as they wear face masks.

As for restaurants, bars and gyms, the expert said their restrictions should only be lifted when ways to reduce cross-infection are identified.

Restaurants are required to keep their tables apart and have no more than four people per table, while bars, gyms and beauty parlours are among the premises that will be shut till at least May 7.

The Centre for Health Protection recorded no new Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong on Sunday, with the city’s overall tally of confirmed cases remaining at 1,039.

There have been no new local infections for 14 days now. During this period, all of the reported cases are imported ones.