Coronavirus: Purpose of a Face Mask

Hong Kong has always been a country that highly values self hygiene levels but with the coronavirus, what is the purpose of a face mask?

Before the coronavirus, a mask had a different significant meaning. Masks were used by those who were sick. They did not want to pass on their own infection or if the pollution levels were too high. The high intensity of protests in 2019 gave masks a different outlook. Masks allowed them to hide their identity from the public because of the political and social unrest in the city.

With the severity of the coronavirus and its rapid growth, masks have a new symbolic meaning. Masks are now part of a daily routine, making the user Dfeel safer and more prone to the virus. Those who do not wear masks in Hong Kong are considered to be careless in this situation and to have low levels of respect.

Face Masks in Western Countries with Coronavirus

Everyday I see a very high percentage of people wearing masks. It has become the norm for me and I am glad everyone has taken the pandemic seriously. The coronavirus is a serious matter and everyone must use a face mask. However this is a different case back home, the United Kingdom.

There are many problems back home regarding the coronavirus. The country is not prepared. It seems that many of the people in the UK are either selfish or uneducated of the situation. It is a sad sight to see when they don’t see the severity in other countries and not taking actions upon themselves.

In the UK the only people who wear masks are those in the medical industry. Anyone wearing a mask outside a hospital or surgery are considering to be considerably ill or a person with a high cleaning obsessive-compulsive disorder. Face masks are not highly sought after and not as accessible as in Hong Kong. Even with the rise of the coronavirus, the majority of people from the UK still do not wear face masks.

I have heard disgusting stories back home unfortunately regarding Asians wearing face masks. Racism is still a thing to this current day and with the coronavirus, things have gotten worse for the Chinese. Some assume all Chinese are contagious and if they are wearing a mask they have something to hide. It is ludicrous. I won’t go further regarding this topic, but I advise everyone to support each other no matter what their background is. Educate yourself before making comments.

Social Implications

Whether you decide to wear a mask or not in any country, it has major social implications. In Hong Kong, if you are known not to be wearing a mask, most won’t approach you. Like I mentioned before, not wearing shows no sign of respect for the pandemic which locals take seriously.

Recently there has been a major uproar in the entertainment industry, in particular bars and clubs. A well known drinking location called Lan Kwai Fong has been put under pressure because of a case that was linked to it. Pictures have been spreading of expats and tourists drinking in these spots with no regards of social distancing and face mask coverage. Now the location has been closed down because of this.

With the restrictions that are already in place and the ones that are yet to come, socializing has become something that is scarce. It is advised that you should avoid gatherings and stay at home. Socializing in 2020 will be virtual rather than physical. Even with face masks, socializing will not be the same any time soon because of the coronavirus.


Mr. Greg

An English teacher from Scotland who made a website to share resources for free with the whole world! Currently based in Hong Kong, teaching in an International Kindergarten and tutoring Primary students.

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