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Govt to distribute millions of face masks

2020-05-05 HKT 19:09
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  • Govt to distribute millions of face masks
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that the government will distribute millions of free face masks, both single use ones and reusables, from next month.

Hong Kong residents can sign up from Wednesday morning to get a free reusable mask from the government.

Lam said along with the reusable masks, the government will also hand out around 30 million disposable masks – ten per household – from the end of next month.

Face masks had become a much sought after item after the coronavirus
started spreading in Hong Kong at the beginning of this year and long queues were seen outside shops which had them. The government then was blamed for not ensuring enough supplies.

Lam herself was caught in a row after she urged people who are not vulnerable or at high-risk of catching the virus not to wear masks, to reduce demand.

But the scarcity of the protective gear in the city is over now and some people are now sending masks to friends and relatives overseas where there are large-scale outbreaks.

Lam said the government had set aside HK$800 million as part of its anti-epidemic fund to subsidise the development of reusable masks – and now this has borne fruit.

She said the masks are called Cu masks – Cu being the chemical symbol for copper which they contain, and as a play on words meaning wanting to see you.

The name of the mask represents that the government stands with the people in fighting the virus, she said.

The new Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Alfred Sit, said people with an ID card can register online from 7am Wednesday and the online registration process will be open for a month.

The masks will be delivered two weeks after registration, via the post, to local addresses.

Hong Kong residents outside the city will be able to register online from May 13, but will need a local address for the masks to be delivered to.

Those unable to register online can wait until the online registration has passed, and collect their mask at a post office.

The disposable masks will be distributed from the end of June. Lam said there'll be no need to register for these, and they'll also be sent out through Hong Kong Post.

There are also plans to distribute masks for every student in Hong Kong, before they eventually return to class.