The Hong Kong government has today launched the online registration for free masks, which is reusable for up to 60 washes, for all citizens with valid Hong Kong Identity Cards.
But the child-sized masks for students in primary schools and kindergartens will be distributed through the schools they are studying at. Online registration is not required as the system does not accept registration of persons born on or after 1 January 2009. A duplication of registration will also not be entertained.
In its press release, the Innovation and Technology Bureau said that as at 3pm on May 6, the online registration system had received over 500,000 registrations, covering close to 1.38 million registrants in total.
Applicants can sign up to a maximum of six people and have until June 6 to register. Those who don’t want to register online can visit any post office to claim their masks after the online registration date ends. Successful online registrants will have their masks delivered to their homes via the Hong Kong Post within two weeks.
The government had earlier set aside HK$800 million as part of the anti-epidemic fund for the development of the reusable masks and that it has also arranged to deliver over 140,000 of the masks to residential homes and social welfare institutions for their distribution, including the elderly and the homeless.
The six-layered patented mask, called “CuMask+”, was developed by the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textile and Apparel, and has special ergonomic features. Its name “Cu” was derived from the symbol of copper. The mask was awarded a Gold Medal at the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva 2018.
Two of the mask’s layers contain copper, which is capable of immobilising bacteria, common viruses, and other harmful substances. The mask complies with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTEM) F2100 Level 1 Standard in terms of particle and bacterial efficiency, as well as resistance to penetration by synthetic blood, flammability, and pressure resistance.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the CuMask could also be a play on words of “wanting to see you”.
HKID card holders who are currently overseas, including migrant domestic workers who may have found themselves caught in a travel lockdown from their country of origin, can also register. But all those overseas must provide a Hong Kong address, a call operator for the CuMask told Around DB.
Some had criticised the move as “a little too late” after the city has seen no new local transmissions in two weeks. The total number of Covid-19 cases stood at 1,041 on May 6 and 920 of these have been discharged so far.
Johannie Tong, Community Relations Officer at the Mission for Migrant Workers, welcomed the efforts, saying it was “better than nothing”.
“We’re concerned if migrant domestic workers will be ensured or guaranteed the supply of masks,” Tong told Around DB. “It’s good that the government is providing preventive materials, but how about the other concerns of the migrant workers, such as terminations?” she added.
The government also announced on May 5 the easing of some social distancing measures it earlier imposed, such as revising the group gathering ban of no more than eight people from four.
Bars, gyms, cinemas, beauty and massage parlours and various other entertainment venues will also be allowed to reopen from Friday, although some restrictions on their operations will remain in place until May 21.
Ms. Lam said bars can only operate at 50 percent of their capacity and that no live bands or any dancing will be allowed. The closure of karaokes, party rooms and nightclubs have been extended for another two weeks.
CuMask+ video tutorial