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Adrian Cheng announced the “Mask to Go” initiative on Instagram on Monday, April 6. Courtesy of Adrian Cheng.
Adrian Cheng announced the “Mask to Go” initiative on Instagram on Monday, April 6. Courtesy of Adrian Cheng.

Adrian Cheng to Install Free Face Mask Dispensers Across Hong Kong

Business tycoon, art collector, and founder of the K11 Art Foundation Adrian Cheng is launching a new initiative that will provide millions of free medical-grade face masks to the residents of Hong Kong. The billionaire announced the project, dubbed “Mask to Go,” on his Instagram account on Monday, April 6.

To distribute the personal protective gear, Cheng enlisted the help of eight NGOs, including the Lutheran Church, the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Young Women’s Christian Association, which will aim to provide masks to those most in need of them, such as the elderly and members of low-income communities.

The organizations will be charged with filling and overseeing thirty-five vending machines that will be installed across eighteen districts in Hong Kong. In order to prevent people from having to wait on line to use the dispensers, and to comply with social distancing measures, the NGOs will give out preregistered “smart” redemption cards, which residents can use to get a pack of five masks from the machine every week for a period of ten weeks.

Beginning in late April, ten million masks will immediately be made available. The safety equipment is being manufactured by the property development company New World Development, of which Cheng is vice chairman and general manager, at a 4,000-square-foot factory in Tuen Mun. The factory’s production lines will be capable of making 200,000 masks a day.

Cheng wrote that his teams “have been working tirelessly to make sure we have the ability to produce high-quality medical face masks here in Hong Kong.” He added: “I’m so proud of the dedication and effort our teams have put into this program. I also appreciate very much the positive feedback that we have received from the public so far regarding this initiative, which I hope will prompt others to join us in our effort.”

New World Development, which previously set up a “community anti-epidemic fund” when Hong Kong was battling its first outbreak, has also invested in Master Dynamic Limited (MD), a Hong Kong–based material analysis and nanotechnology company, which is researching and trying to develop a new antibacterial technology that would enable the production of antiviral masks.

On Monday, Hong Kong extended its ban on nonresidents as it continued to experience a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong confirmed that 914 people are infected; about three fourths of the cases involved people who have recently traveled or have come into contact with individuals who traveled. Leading members of the scientific community have since called for mask wearing to be made mandatory.