Over half a million people joined a rush to register for free government-issued masks within hours of registration opening on Wednesday morning, with waiting times shown as more than an hour at the opening time.
At 8am, an attempt to register gave the queue number as 175,000, with more than 3,000 people waiting for the chance to register. An hour later, the queue number was at 325,000.
On both occasions it was possible to enter the registration site within five minutes. At 7am, the website had suggested the waiting time would be up to an hour, although the registration page loaded in about 10 minutes.
By 10am, the total number of applicants had crossed half a million.
A message on the website read: "Warm reminder: There will be sufficient CuMask+TM for each HK citizen. If the queue is too long, please try again at a later time : )."
As many as six people can be registered at a time. The website requires their names, dates of birth and identity card numbers, as well as a single delivery address for all the masks.
People are also asked to confirm whether their details can be used for the distribution of other masks until April 2021.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Tuesday that the reusable, washable masks would be made available to all Hong Kong residents.
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.
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.
The masks are due for delivery in two weeks.
Last updated: 2020-05-06 HKT 10:10
Hundreds of thousands apply for free govt masks
2020-05-06 HKT 09:18
2020-05-11 HKT 13:02
2020-05-09 HKT 22:56
2020-05-08 HKT 12:14
2020-05-07 HKT 11:16
2020-05-06 HKT 18:21
2020-05-06 HKT 16:41
2020-05-05 HKT 19:09
2020-03-25 HKT 15:21
2020-03-19 HKT 18:34
2020-03-18 HKT 11:57
2020-03-14 HKT 16:15
2020-03-10 HKT 15:15
2020-03-10 HKT 13:58
2020-03-05 HKT 12:07
2020-03-02 HKT 14:05
2020-02-24 HKT 13:36