Sun. May 26th, 2024

Hong Kong will cease requiring masks to be worn in public locations from Wednesday, drawing to an in depth the extended Covid period that broken its financial system and standing on this planet.

Masks will now not be wanted outdoor, indoors or on public transport, Hong Kong chief John Lee instructed reporters on Tuesday.

“From tomorrow we’re fully returning to normalcy,” Lee mentioned. “This yr and the following yr, we’ll deal with the financial system and improvement.”

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The transfer comes as the federal government seeks to draw vacationers and abroad staff to revitalize the finance hub. Subsequent month will see Hong Kong host the most important collection of worldwide occasions since often-violent protests in 2019 shut down a lot of the town, together with a music pageant, Artwork Basel and the Rugby Sevens event. Hong Kong had dropped most different pandemic restrictions by earlier this yr.

Folks have been required to put on masks in all public locations, together with outdoor, from July 29, 2020. The rule is enforceable by fines of as much as HK$10,000 ($1,275), with police usually handing out HK$5,000 penalties on the spot for transgressors.

Hong Kong was certainly one of final locations on Earth to mandate mask-wearing. At one stage, masks had been required even when exercising. The rule more and more jarred with Hong Kong’s push to maneuver past the pandemic and lure guests. As a part of its Howdy Hong Kong marketing campaign, the town is making a gift of greater than half 1,000,000 airline tickets ranging from Wednesday.

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Tourism numbers stay low. In January, passenger volumes on the Norman Foster-designed airport had been a 3rd of the extent 4 years earlier. That compares with 77% for Singapore.

The previous three years of world isolation have weighed closely on Hong Kong’s financial system and repute. The financial system shrank 3.5% in 2022, contracting for the third time in 4 years. The inhabitants has fallen by a web 187,000 within the three years via 2022 as residents fled for different cities.

—With help from Shirley Zhao

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