Face Mask Vending Machines to Combat Coronavirus are Incoming. The K11 Art Foundation founder, Adrian Cheng, is donating millions of masks aimed to help low-income communities in their fight against Covid-19.
Prompted by soaring prices and scarce supply, the billionaire art collector and entrepreneur Adrian Cheng has announced plans to distribute for free medical-grade surgical face masks during the coronavirus pandemic, placing 35 vending machines in 18 locations throughout Hong Kong.
Cheng, the heir to a property and jewelry empire, said he will make the first batch of 10 million masks available to vulnerable people and low-income families, who can each claim a pack of five masks every week by pre-registering online for a “smart redemption card”. The card will eliminate the need for people to queue for their packs.
Launching in late April, 35 vending machines will be installed in designated service centres across 18 of the city’s districts. The service centres are headed by eight NGOs based in Hong Kong.
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Announcing the “Mask to Go” initiative on Instagram a few days ago, Cheng says his teams “have been working tirelessly to make sure we have the ability to produce high-quality medical face masks here in Hong Kong”. Starting in mid-April, four production lines will produce 200,000 masks a day “that will better equip Hong Kong to combat Covid-19 now, and in the future”, Cheng says. At its peak, the programme is expected to produce more than 7 million medical face masks per month.
Hong Kong, along with several other Asian nations, advised its citizens from early in the Covid-19 crisis to wear face masks when they need to go out in public. That advice has more recently been adopted by the United States and some European countries.
“It is heart-breaking to see so many people suffer because they simply cannot afford or get a hold of masks, which have become so costly and scarce,” Cheng said in a statement.
“Some disadvantaged groups have had to use the same mask repeatedly. I hope this initiative will provide convenient and appropriate support to those in need so that they are not living in fear due to mask shortages.”
In addition, Cheng’s New World Development (NWD) property development company is investing HK$10m in the research and development of NanoDiamonds technology to produce advanced masks that feature a special coating that kills bacteria and viruses. The investment follows the establishment of NWD’s charitable initiative #LoveWithoutBorders, which has so far donated 2.5 million medical face masks to partners and local communities in South Korea, France, Italy and the UK, as well as more than 3 million in Greater China.