Hong Kong will drop its COVID-19 mask mandate, chief executive John Lee said on Tuesday, in a move to lure back visitors and business and restore normal life more than three years after stringent rules were first imposed in the financial hub.

The measure will take effect from Wednesday, Lee told a press briefing. The special administrative region of Hong Kong is one of the last places globally that still imposes a mask mandate.

Hong Kong and Macao both followed China's "zero-COVID" policy for much of the past three years. Hong Kong started unwinding its stringent COVID-19 rules last year, but mask-wearing has remained constant since 2020.