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Transcript of remarks by CE at media session before ExCo (with video)
     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, and the Secretary for Health, Professor Lo Chung-mau, at a media session before the Executive Council meeting today (February 28):
Reporter: Two questions. The first question is why now is the right time to scrap the mask mandate given that Macao has dropped its outdoor mask mandate? And the second question is about wearing masks at hospitals, care homes and schools. Is that the remaining safeguards to protect people from COVID? Any elaboration on those policies? Thank you.
Chief Executive: I have always told people that I will be monitoring the situation of Hong Kong in regard to the total number of infected cases, the overall trend and the different data that indicate the situation of COVID in Hong Kong. It is because of the overall assessment of all the factors that have been taken into account, including those five factors that I have told you earlier, that I made the decision. I have told people since almost two months ago, that this is an issue that I will be actively monitoring to examine when will be the appropriate time to lift the masking requirement. After looking at all the data, the trend and the fact that the winter surge is nearing the end, in order to give people a very clear message that Hong Kong is resuming to normalcy, I think this is the right time to make the decision. That is why today I made the announcement to lift the masking requirement as soon as possible, that is, starting from tomorrow (March 1). With the masking requirement removed, we are starting to resume to normalcy comprehensively, and that will be very beneficial to economic development, our international competitiveness as well as our activities which involve everyone in Hong Kong.
     As regards other measures to ensure that we will continue to protect public health, we have also indicated that for premises or groups which will be regarded as high-risk, then the person in charge of the place can still ask people to wear masks. We will continue, also, to monitor the situation, including analysis of the imported cases so as to ensure that the overall virus variation will be kept under control.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Issued at HKT 12:50
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