Because of the concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus, which first appeared and began spreading at the end of last year, almost everyone started wearing medical masks when visiting public places so as not to get infected. Masks posed a considerable problem with establishing people’s identity because it was impossible to recognize a person in a mask.

However, Beijing-based Hanwang (Hanvon) Technology Co., Ltd., a Chinese company, developed the country's first facial recognition technology that can help identify people even when they are wearing medical masks.

Huang Lei, the Vice President at Hanwang Technology, said that the face recognition system is based on the technology developed over the past ten years. After additional research, specialists were able to achieve high accuracy in recognizing faces partially hidden by medical masks. According to Huang Lei, the new system can identify up to 30 people in a crowd per second.

"When wearing a mask, the recognition rate can reach about 95%, which can ensure that most people can be identified," Huang said, adding that the success rate for people without the mask is about 99.5%.

A team of 20 people began working on the system in January when an outbreak of coronavirus was starting to gain momentum.