Hong Kong will drop its mask mandate on Wednesday, lifting its last major restriction to contain Covid-19 as the government seeks to revive the city as a financial hub after more than two and a half years of pandemic controls.John Lee, Hong Kong’s chief executive, announced on Tuesday that the measure, which was imposed in July 2020 and enforced with HK$5,000 (US$640) fines, would be scrapped in order to draw businesses and tourists back to the city.
“We think this is the best time to make this decision. It is a clear message to show Hong Kong is resuming normalcy,” said Lee, formerly the city’s top cop. “We will focus on our economy and the city’s development this year and the next after resuming normalcy.”
Hong Kong had become a global outlier on pandemic controls, only beginning to unwind its strict Covid policies in December and maintaining a mask mandate far longer than other countries in the region, many of which observed widespread mask-wearing even without a legal requirement.