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One of the last places to have a COVID mask mandate says it will lift it Wednesday

Commuters wearing face masks browse their smartphones as they ride on a subway train in Hong Kong on Feb. 7, 2023. Hong Kong will lift its mask mandate Wednesday, March 1, 2023, ending the city's last major restriction imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andy Wong
/
AP
Commuters wearing face masks browse their smartphones as they ride on a subway train in Hong Kong on Feb. 7, 2023. Hong Kong will lift its mask mandate Wednesday, March 1, 2023, ending the city's last major restriction imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updated February 28, 2023 at 9:36 AM ET

Hong Kong is dropping its mask mandate — making it one of the last international cities to stop requiring face coverings after the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The controversial mandate began nearly three years ago and at one point was so strict that it required people exercising outdoors to remain masked.

People found in violation of the mask mandate could be fined up to the equivalent of $1,000.

Starting Wednesday however, people will no longer need to wear masks indoor or outdoors, though masks will still be required at senior care homes and health care facilities.

Taiwan, close by to Hong kong, just dropped its last indoor mask mandates earlier this month, though it still requires masks on public transport and in health facilities.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Emily Feng is NPR's Beijing correspondent.