No curb on mask supplies, price

February 10, 2020

The Government said it currently has no plans to mandatorily curb the supply and price of surgical masks through legislation.


It made the statement in response to media enquiries on the topic tonight, saying that mandatory control could be counterproductive, rather than addressing the problem of inadequate supply.


It noted that given experts' assessment that the virus may last for a period of time and that there are confirmed cases in various countries and regions, the demand for surgical masks has risen sharply, causing difficulties in procurement.


As the supply of surgical masks is tight in the short run, the Government explained that it is more pragmatic to strive to increase supplies and manage the demand.


The Government added that it has adopted a multi-pronged approach to obtain masks and other protective items globally through different channels and means.


These include the Government Logistics Department procuring directly from suppliers, through Hong Kong Economic & Trade Offices’ referrals and individual sources.


The Government stressed that it prioritises the distribution of such stock in accordance with the risk level.


Priority is given to healthcare workers and personnel providing care and essential services as well as employees handling the public such as those in public transport and emergency and immigration services.


As the Government additionally explores local production prospects, the Correctional Services Department has increased its production volume.


The Government is also maintaining close contact with members of local chambers of commerce and the retail industry and collaborating with Mainland authorities to facilitate clearance to speed up their delivery to the market.


It called on the public to go out less often and reduce social contact in accordance with experts' advice.


Although surgical masks can effectively prevent the spread of virus, people should also exercise good personal hygiene, the Government emphasised.

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