Travellers to submit specimens

March 18, 2020

(To watch the full media briefing with sign language interpretation, click here.)


The Centre for Health Protection will launch a pilot project tomorrow, under which returnees at Hong Kong International Airport will be given bottles to place their deep throat saliva specimens for COVID-19 testing.


Centre for Health Protection Controller Dr Wong Ka-hing told a press briefing this afternoon that the pilot project will be launched in conjunction with the extended health quarantine arrangements on inbound travellers.


"The Government believes that with implementation of the compulsory quarantine, either in the quarantine centre or at home for all returnees to Hong Kong except Macau and Taiwan, this would have the effect of limiting the people, especially the non-Hong Kong residents coming to Hong Kong in the near future."


Dr Wong noted that not all the deep throat saliva specimens would be collected at the airport due to space constraints.


"We will, at the airport, distribute specimen bottles to the returnees, but we expect that we can only do a few dozen as a pilot project and see how it goes.


"We will collect some demographic information from the person, apart from distributing the bottles, and also give him or her some instructions for the collection of deep throat saliva. After collection, it will be his or her family members, because the confinee will stay at home, to return the collected specimen to designated collection points of Department of Health clinics."


Those who have developed symptoms will be accorded top priority for COVID-19 tests, he added.


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