Hong Kong leader gives reason for not wearing mask

Carrie Lam said she keeps her face uncovered to show people how “solemn” she is

Speaking on Tuesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam defended herself amid criticism of her decision to stop wearing masks during Legislative Council meetings and press conferences.

Many citizens had complained about her conduct on social media, noting the hypocrisy of the situation as Lam reimposed fresh restrictions on the population.

Questioned by a reporter on the matter during a press conference, she insisted that her decision to forgo the mask was “well thought out,” claiming her goal was to ensure residents could “feel her emotions.”

“Now I am very somber, I am very solemn, because I am very worried. People need to understand and feel my feelings,” Lam said. “I’m not going to smile to you or look very relaxed or casual. This is a very solemn occasion.”

Lam insisted on the need to hear clearly from the chief executive and the messages she was conveying to the public. She added that she wasn’t taking off the mask because of discomfort.

Hong Kong reported 109 new Covid-19 cases on Monday. The current wave of the virus, driven by the Omicron variant, comes after months without any locally transmitted infections.

As Lam spoke, 426 people in the former British colony were in hospital with Covid-19, however, none were in serious or critical condition.