Face masks in Hong Kong seem to be all the fashion and you’ll find quite a few people sporting them around town. The reason so many people wear face masks in Hong Kong is due to lessons learned during the outbreaks of SARS and Avian Flu in the city.
In a city as densely populated as Hong Kong infectious diseases tend to spread rapidly, as was the case with both SARS and Avian Flu. Hong Kong residents therefore, quite understandably, are obsessed with germs. So, when Hong Kongers get a cold or flu they tend to don their face mask, both to stop the disease spreading and in case they are carrying something more serious than a simple cold.
Other measures you’ll find in place is the regular swabbing of elevator buttons and escalator handrails and find detergent dispensers in building lobbies and major Hong Kong shopping malls.
These measures, especially face masks, can sometimes be a little alarming for travellers, but they only make Hong Kong safer from disease. If you yourself find you’re suffering from the sniffles, do like the locals and put on a mask. Masks can be picked up in pharmacies such as Watsons, local hospitals and some mall receptions.