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Following months of coronavirus-induced mask shortages, price gouging, thefts, and scams, the Hong Kong government has announced that it will be providing free face masks to all Hong Kong residents.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam officially announced the mask distribution scheme at her weekly Executive Council meeting today, where she also detailed the government’s plans to relax social distancing measures. Lam said that the government had used HKD800 million from its anti-epidemic fund to finance the production of over 7 million reusable copper-lined masks for all HKID holders.
The patented CuMask+, which was developed by The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles & Apparel, was awarded a Gold Medal at the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva 2018. The mask, which is supposed to be washed after every use, can be washed up to 60 times. Following that, wearers can continue to use the mask by replacing the removable filter.
The new Secretary for Innovation and Technology, Alfred Sit, said that registration for the masks would start at 7am tomorrow and remain open for a month. Applicants will be notified via SMS if their registration is successful, unsuccessful, or incomplete. Masks will be sent to recipients via tracked post around two weeks after their details have been verified. Any HKID holder can apply to receive a mask — even those who are overseas — but all masks must be sent to local addresses (PO boxes are not accepted).
Residents who do not wish to register their details online can go to any local post offices after June 6 and show their HKID to claim a mask in person.
In addition, the government pledged to send a box of 10 disposable face masks to every household in Hong Kong, without any need for registration. Lam also noted that a large quantity of masks would be sent to students before schools begin reopening on May 27.
This article, Free reusable masks to be sent all Hong Kong residents: gov’t, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.
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