Netizen falsely claims Hong Kong authorities will arrest anyone caught wearing a mask

CLAIM: Hong Kong will arrest anyone wearing a mask after March 1


A netizen falsely claimed in a Facebook post last Feb. 28 that Hong Kong authorities would arrest anyone caught wearing a mask starting March 1, the day the special administrative region of China officially lifted its mask mandate.

The graphic read “Hong Kong to implement No MASKS Mandate from 1 March 2023, anyone been seen wearing Masks in public will be fine (sic) HK#5000.”

The quote card also contained the words “South China Afternoon post Hong Kong meme news.”

The post was not clearly labeled as satirical and could potentially fool the public.

Hong Kong officially lifted the mask mandate on March 1.

“Starting from tomorrow, citizens will no longer be required to wear masks mandatorily onboard a public transport carrier, or within an MTR paid area, or in a specified public place (including both indoor and outdoor areas), as well as in premises regulated under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F),” the Hong Kong government’s official press release said.  

The same press release stated that “mask-wearing is still an effective way to reduce the risk of virus transmission while protecting the wearer and others.” It encouraged people entering medical facilities or residential care homes for the elderly or residential care homes for persons with disabilities to “follow the administrative mask-wearing requirement.” 

The Hong Kong government also “appealed” to the public to wear a mask when having symptoms of respiratory illnesses. It advised persons with weakened immunity or chronic diseases to wear a mask when in a poorly ventilated place.

It did not issue any declaration that those who wear masks in public places would be fined.  — Rommel F. Lopez


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