Gov’t striving to boost mask supply

January 29, 2020

The Government is working proactively to increase the overall supply of surgical masks through a multi-pronged approach.


Given the severe situation of the novel coronavirus infection, the Government said that a sufficient and stable supply of health protection equipment is of paramount importance.


Representatives of the Commerce & Economic Development Bureau and relevant government departments met members of local chambers of commerce and the retail industry today to learn about the supply of surgical masks and problems encountered by importers and retailers with a view to offering assistance to them and addressing the tight supply.


The Government is also maintaining close contact with Mainland authorities. Customs departments between the two places are collaborating to follow up on the clearance of surgical masks procured by the Government or the market to expedite their delivery to Hong Kong.


Additionally, the Government Logistics Department is actively sourcing surgical masks globally and has contacted more than 140 suppliers from more than 10 countries.


However, the supply of surgical masks will be tight in the near future, the Government said.


As advised by experts, people should go out less often during this period and observe personal hygiene, the Government said, adding that it has already announced measures to prevent people from gathering.


These include extending the Lunar New Year holiday of all schools in Hong Kong, introducing special work arrangements for government departments as well as closing government facilities.


The Government appealed to members of the public for their understanding of the inconvenience caused by the relevant measures and the inadequate supply of protective equipment.


It also appealed to the community to work together in disease prevention and control at this critical point.


At the same time, Customs launched a large-scale operation on January 27 to combat surgical masks with false origin claims, non-compliance with consumer goods safety standards and false trademarks. The operation is ongoing.


Noting that some people are rushing to buy food, the Government said the Food & Environmental Hygiene Department has confirmed with major suppliers that the supply of food products remains normal, and the suppliers will replenish the shelves of food products as soon as possible.


The suspension of services at some control points announced on January 28 will not affect freight services, it said. Food supply to Hong Kong will not be affected.


The Government will maintain communication with the sector to ensure the smooth supply of food in the city.

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