Scientific Evidence Supporting Mask Protocol

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Department of Health should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Allyson van de Pol

Dear Department of Health,

Could you please advise the following:

-As we have not had any local Covid 19 cases in many weeks, what scientific advice/ study are we following to maintain the mandatory mask wearing protocol?

-At what level of cases do we need to achieve until the mandatory mask wearing protocol can be rescinded?

Thanks very much.

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

Department of Health

Dear Allyson van de Pol,
Your email dated 2.7.2021 is received.

Please be advised that the requested information is under the purview of
the Food and Health Bureau ("FHB").   Subject to your consent, we will
refer your case to FHB for direct reply.  Grateful for your consent by
replying to this email by 12.7.2021 (next Monday).  Thank you
If you have any enquiry, please contact Ms Sophy KWOK, Executive
Officer(Personnel)3 at 3107 2593.  Thank you.
Regards,

(Ms Sophy KWOK)
for Director of Health
Tel: 3107 2593

From:        Allyson van de Pol <[FOI #693 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Department of Health <[Department of Health request email]>
Date:        02/07/2021 18:24
Subject:        Freedom of Information request - Scientific Evidence
Supporting Mask Protocol

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Department of Health,

Could you please advise the following:

-As we have not had any local Covid 19 cases in many weeks, what
scientific advice/ study are we following to maintain the mandatory mask
wearing protocol?

-At what level of cases do we need to achieve until the mandatory mask
wearing protocol can be rescinded?

Thanks very much.

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

-------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a request under the Code of Access to Information facilitated via
the accessinfo.hk website.

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #693 email]

Is [Department of Health request email] the wrong address for Freedom of Information requests
to Department of Health? If so, please contact us using this form:
[1]https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[2]https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

References

Visible links
1. https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...
2. https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

Allyson van de Pol

Dear Ms Kwok

Sure no problem at all, please send on.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

Department of Health

Dear Sir/Madam,
 
The Food and Health Bureau (FHB) has received your application under the
Code on Access to Information dated 2.7.2021.  Your application is now
under processing.  
 
According to paragraph 1.16 of the Code on Access to Information, you will
be informed of the latest progress of the case separately on or before
22.7.2021.  
 
In the meantime, please contact us by e-mail at [1][email address] if
you have any enquiry.  Thank you.
 
Yours faithfully,
(Mandy FUNG)      
for Secretary for Food and Health

From:        Allyson van de Pol
<[2][FOI #693 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Department of Health <[3][Department of Health request email]>
Date:        09/07/2021 10:05
Subject:        Re: Freedom of Information request - Scientific Evidence
Supporting Mask Protocol

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Ms Kwok

Sure no problem at all, please send on.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

show quoted sections

Allyson van de Pol

Dear Ms Fung

Thanks very much!

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

Department of Health

Dear Allyson van de Pol,

It appeared that I am not the intended recipient as your quoted email is
from Ms Mandy FUNG of Food and Health Bureau.  Thank you.

Regards,
Ms Sophy KWOK
EO(Per)3
Department of Health
Tel: 3107 2593

show quoted sections

Department of Health

Dear Sir/Madam,
Further to our interim reply dated 9 July 2021, we are processing your
application which would require more time to consult the relevant parties.
 You will be informed of the latest progress of the case separately on or
before 1 August 2021.
In the meantime, please contact us by e-mail at [1][email address] if
you have any enquiry.  

Thank you.
Yours faithfully,
(Mandy FUNG)      
for Secretary for Food and Health

From: XXXXXXXXXXXX
To: FOI requests at Department of Health <[2][Department of Health request email]>
Date: 02/07/2021 18:24
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Scientific Evidence Supporting
Mask Protocol

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Department of Health,

Could you please advise the following:

-As we have not had any local Covid 19 cases in many weeks, what
scientific advice/ study are we following to maintain the mandatory mask
wearing protocol?

-At what level of cases do we need to achieve until the mandatory mask
wearing protocol can be rescinded?

Thanks very much.

Yours faithfully,

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

-------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a request under the Code of Access to Information facilitated via
the accessinfo.hk website.

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Is [3][Department of Health request email] the wrong address for Freedom of Information
requests to Department of Health? If so, please contact us using this
form:
[4]https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[5]https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[Department of Health request email]
3. mailto:[Department of Health request email]
4. https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...
5. https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

Department of Health

Dear Sir/Madam,

Maintaining social distancing is key to prevent and delay the spread of
the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) within the community in Hong Kong.
 Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, the Government has been
adjusting our social distancing measures having regard to the development
of the epidemic situation, risk assessment and experts' advice.  In
deciding the social distancing measures to be put in place, the Government
has also balanced the oft-competing factors of public health protection,
economic impact and social acceptance.  

The Prevention and Control of Disease (Wearing of Mask) Regulation (Cap.
599I) came into effect since July 2020, providing the legal basis for the
Government to impose a mandatory mask-wearing requirement for a specified
period for the purposes of preventing, protecting against, delaying or
otherwise controlling the incidence or transmission of the specified
disease.  In formulating the mandatory mask-wearing requirement, we have
taken into account the experts' advice and the World Health Organization
(WHO)'s advice in respect of the wearing of mask.  According to WHO's
guidance titled "Mask Use in the Context of COVID-19" published on 5 June
2020 and subsequently updated on 1 December 2020 (at
[1]https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/...),
WHO advises the use of masks as part of a comprehensive package of
prevention and control measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, along
with other infection prevention and control measures include hand hygiene,
physical distancing of at least 1 metre, testing, contact tracing,
quarantine and isolation etc.  Masks can be used either for protection of
healthy persons or for source control to prevent onward transmission.
 Together these measures are critical to prevent human-to-human
transmission of COVID-19.  In addition, the WHO urges fully vaccinated
people to continue wearing masks and taking other preventive measures as
it is still not known about the extent to which COVID-19 vaccine keeps
people from being infected and passing the virus to others. The relevant
advice is available at
[2]https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases....

Although the epidemic situation in Hong Kong has become more stable
recently, the epidemic situation worldwide remains severe.  We must remain
cautious amidst  threats of the highly contagious Delta variant across the
globe.  In fact, Hong Kong continues to record imported cases carrying
variants of concern from time to time.  Overseas experiences also suggest
that the risk of an explosive community outbreak and rebound of the
epidemic situation is considerably high following drastic relaxations of
social distancing measures.  Against the foregoing, the mandatory
mask-wearing requirement under Cap. 599I has been extended until 4 August
2021 to prevent a rebound of the epidemic situation locally.    

The Government will continue to review and adjust the social distancing
measures including the mask-wearing requirement from time to time, having
regard to, inter alia, the development of the epidemic situation, risk
assessment and experts' advice.  
Thank you.

Yours faithfully,
(Mandy FUNG)
for Secretary for Food and Health

From:        Enquiry FHB/FHB/HKSARG
To:        [FOI #693 email],
Date:        22/07/21 06:13 PM
Subject:        Re: Freedom of Information request - Scientific Evidence
Supporting Mask Protocol

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Sir/Madam,
Further to our interim reply dated 9 July 2021, we are processing your
application which would require more time to consult the relevant parties.
 You will be informed of the latest progress of the case separately on or
before 1 August 2021.
In the meantime, please contact us by e-mail at [3][email address] if
you have any enquiry.  

Thank you.
Yours faithfully,
(Mandy FUNG)      
for Secretary for Food and Health

From: XXXXXXXXXXXX
To: FOI requests at Department of Health <[4][Department of Health request email]>
Date: 02/07/2021 18:24
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Scientific Evidence Supporting
Mask Protocol

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Department of Health,

Could you please advise the following:

-As we have not had any local Covid 19 cases in many weeks, what
scientific advice/ study are we following to maintain the mandatory mask
wearing protocol?

-At what level of cases do we need to achieve until the mandatory mask
wearing protocol can be rescinded?

Thanks very much.

Yours faithfully,

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

-------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a request under the Code of Access to Information facilitated via
the accessinfo.hk website.

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Is [5][Department of Health request email] the wrong address for Freedom of Information
requests to Department of Health? If so, please contact us using this
form:
[6]https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[7]https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

show quoted sections

Allyson van de Pol

Dear Department of Health,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Health's handling of my FOI request 'Scientific Evidence Supporting Mask Protocol'.

I have asked specifically which studies you are following that shows that mask wearing stops transmission of viruses and along with a risk/ benefit analysis that overall proves they are beneficial. So far no studies have been provided. I also asked when we will be able to stop wearing masks?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://accessinfo.hk/en/request/scienti...

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

Department of Health

Dear Allyson van de Pol,

Please note that the concerned application under the Code on Access to
Information was referred to Food and Health Bureau ("FHB") on 9 July 2021.

Subject to your consent, your request for internal review will be referred
to FHB for direct reply.  Grateful for your consent by replying to this
email on or before 20 August 2021 (Friday).  

If you have any enquiry, please contact Ms Sophy KWOK, Executive Officer
(Personnel) 3 at 3107 2593.  Thank you.

Regards,
(Ms Sophy KWOK)
for Director of Health

show quoted sections

Allyson van de Pol

Dear Department of Health,

Yes this is fine, thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

Department of Health

Dear Allyson van de Pol,

Please be informed that your request for internal review has been referred
to Food and Health Bureau and they will reply to you directly.
The Access to Information Officers of C&SD can be reached by the following
means -

Telephone No:         (852) 3509 87
Fax No:         (852) 2541 3352  
Email Address:  [email address]
Administration Unit
Food and Health Bureau
Address:         18/F, East Wing,
Central Government Offices,
2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar,
Hong Kong

Thank you.

Regards,
Ms Sophy KWOK
(for Director of Health)

show quoted sections

Department of Health

Dear Sir/Madam,
 
The Food and Health Bureau (FHB) has received your application for review
under the Code on Access to Information on 18 August 2021. Your
application is now under processing. According to paragraph 1.16 of the
Code on Access to Information, you will be informed of the latest progress
of the case separately on or before 7 September 2021.
 
In the meantime, please contact us by e-mail at [1][email address] if
you have any enquiry. Thank you.
 
Yours faithfully,
(Mandy FUNG)
for Secretary for Food and Health

From:        Allyson van de Pol
<[2][FOI #693 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Department of Health <[3][Department of Health request email]>
Date:        16/08/2021 15:04
Subject:        Internal review of Freedom of Information request -
Scientific Evidence Supporting Mask Protocol

show quoted sections

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[5][FOI #693 email]

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[6]https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. mailto:[FOI #693 email]
3. mailto:[Department of Health request email]
4. https://accessinfo.hk/en/request/scienti...
5. mailto:[FOI #693 email]
6. https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers