Chief Executive John Lee has again claimed that Hong Kong has “no restrictions whatsoever” amid the Covid-19 pandemic, despite there being no timetable to scrap a compulsory mask mandate. All visitors and residents face a HK$5,000 fine if they fail to wear a mask in public.

Meanwhile, three sports centres are to remain closed until mid-February over the pandemic, whilst students still need to conduct daily rapid tests to attend school. Those arriving from overseas must also show a negative result from a rapid test in order to enter the territory.

“Hong Kong is back on the centre stage again,” Lee told a business forum in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday. “Back in active business, back in the active business of creating opportunities for Abu Dhabi, for the United Arab Emirates, for each and every one of you. No quarantine, no isolation, no restriction whatsoever.”

John Lee in Abu Dhabi. Photo: GovHK.

Lee is on a charm offensive in the Middle East to attract investment after years of Covid isolation.

Last Thursday, he also alleged there were “no restrictions” as he sought to reboot the city’s international status and welcome back tourists with a HK$2 billion campaign.

HKFP has reached out the Chief Executive’s Office for comment.

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Tom Grundy

Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.