Hong Kong govt mulls requiring more to get tested for Covid

A medical worker collects a swab sample from an elderly woman for nucleic acid test at Hongshan district in Wuhan, Hubei province, May 14, 2020. [Photo by Xue Zi/For China Daily]. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

HONG KONG, Oct 8, 2020, RTHK. The government said it’s considering requiring more people to get tested for Covid-19 amid signs the local outbreak is taking a turn for the worse, RTHK reported.

While a voluntary testing scheme is currently in place for high-risk groups, such as care home workers and taxi drivers, and mandatory testing is required of contacts of confirmed patients, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said on Thursday the government plans to expand testing capacity.

She said they’re looking at the legal issues surrounding mandatory testing.

Chan made it clear requiring certain groups of people to undergo tests would allow health authorities to have a better grasp of the outbreak and come up with the appropriate measures.

Nearly 1.8 million people took part in the government’s universal voluntary testing programme last month. Critics said the scheme was not cost-effective and identified a small number of infected people.

On the situation relating to bars where clusters have emerged in recent days, the health chief said the trade promised to step up anti-epidemic measures when they met on Wednesday. These include testing for employees and requiring patrons to make health declarations.

On whether bars would be ordered shut, Chan insisted that would be a last resort.

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