Residents queue up to be tested for COVID-19 outside Henry G. Leong Yaumatei Community Centre on Nov 23, 2020. (PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG – The Hong Kong government has expanded its free coronavirus testing arrangement by adding seven sample collection sites to districts reporting a high number of infected residents.
On Monday, seven mobile specimen collection stations and specimen bottle distribution points were set up in Tsuen Wan, Sai Kung and Tai Po, with the help of two testing agencies enlisted by the government.
Persons who are subject to compulsory testing and undergo testing at the mobile specimen collection stations or through the services provided at specimen bottle distribution point will be deemed to have undergone a test at a community testing centre.
Hong Kong government spokesman
The move came as the city saw a rapid escalation of COVID-19 infections. Sixty-eight infections were recorded on Sunday, the highest since mid-August when the city was battling a sweeping third wave of outbreak. Of Sunday’s 68, 61 were contracted locally.
“The testing agencies will provide specimen collection services by combined nasal and throat swab at the mobile specimen collection stations; or distribute specimen bottles to members of the public and collect deep throat saliva specimens at the specimen bottle distribution point for testing free of charge,” a government spokesman said in a statement on Monday.
“Persons who are subject to compulsory testing and undergo testing at the mobile specimen collection stations or through the services provided at specimen bottle distribution point will be deemed to have undergone a test at a community testing centre,” he continued.
An infection cluster centered on dance clubs across the city has raised grave concerns over so-called super spreaders and transmission chains in the community, as the cluster now has at least 80 patients and the number is expected to rise. People who have visited those clubs have been required to take tests.
The spokesman urged people who are in doubt about their own health conditions, and people who visited places identified as epidemic hot-spots or came in contact with those confirmed to have been infected, to undergo testing promptly for early screening.
Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, the city’s No. 2 official, called on the public Sunday to demonstrate self-discipline and ensure self-protection, to reduce unnecessary trips and gatherings, to pay attention to personal and environmental hygiene, and to strictly observe epidemic prevention regulations and restrictions.
In his blog, Cheung said the government didn’t rule out introducing harsher anti-epidemic rules to contain the outbreak, so as to resume customs clearance between the Chinese mainland, Macao and Hong Kong at an early date and provide a much-needed impetus to Hong Kong’s economy.