Second round of reusable masks in the fall

Local | Erin Chan 25 Aug 2020

The second batch of the reusable CuMask+ will be distributed early next month, innovation and technology secretary Alfred Sit Wing-hang said.

The masks, developed by the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel and produced by the Crystal International Group in Vietnam, can be washed and reused up to 60 times.

Speaking yesterday, Sit said he hoped that the latest batch would help against a possible winter resurgence of Covid-19.

He said the government was hoping to distribute the masks earlier, but the arrangement had been on hold due to the fluctuating local outbreak.

Sit said the first batch of the masks was well received, with four to five million distributed.

Asked about the launch of the health code, Sit said authorities have never thought about using the code to regulate entry to public venues.

He said the code seeks to allow Hongkongers to travel to Macau and Guangdong when the pandemic stabilizes.

"The health code plays an important role in facilitating the livelihoods and economic activities of Hongkongers," he said.

Sit said the health code has nothing to do with the online applications starting at the end of the week for next Tuesday's citywide tests.

Addressing concerns that the health code will be equipped with a location tracking function similar to the one in the mainland, Sit said it would be "unrealistic."

"Before leaving Hong Kong, basic information such as name, gender, ID, the result of the test, the name of the clinic where the test is conducted stored in the health code will be restricted to Hong Kong's immigration control only," he said, adding that everything would comply with the personal data privacy ordinance.

Sit added that quotas will be set up to limit the number of Hong Kong travelers using the health code.

"Applicants for the health code must first get a quota tag [online], then they have to visit designated clinics under the department of health to undergo a Covid-19 test," he said.

"If their results come back negative, then they can download a health code from the department of health's website and convert it into a Macau or a Guangdong health code."

But Sit said "it is still too early to say" when the health code would be launched and it would be done in consultation with health experts.

Meanwhile, he urged citizens to register for the upcoming community Covid-19 tests online.

"We will be able to single out asymptomatic carriers and cut the chain for the virus transmission through such test backed by Beijing," he said.

Sit said the department of health will send an SMS message to residents for negative test results or call to follow up on positive results.

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