Universal COVID-19 testing set

August 7, 2020

(To watch the full press conference with sign language interpretation, click here.)


Chief Executive Carrie Lam today announced the Government will introduce a universal and voluntary COVID-19 testing programme with the support of the central government.


Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Mrs Lam said the programme, which will be free, can hopefully start in two weeks.


She said: “This is an entirely voluntary programme to provide testing for those who want to have a test, either to find out whether they are infected or they just want to be more sure that they are safe in that sense.”


She pointed out that the testing will be carried out under five principles.


“One is we want to do it as soon as possible within a short duration, because the earlier that we could identify these silent transmitters, the better.


“The second principle is we have to observe social distancing measures. I could not allow thousands of Hong Kong people queuing up and crowding in front of a desk to await their turn to have a swab.


“The third is to provide as much convenience as possible for the people of Hong Kong to pick up the specimen bottle and also to return it. We will use electronic means as far as possible."


The Chief Executive said the fourth principle is that the process has to be very safe and the Government will try to separate collection points from distribution points.


“And finally, most importantly, is to protect personal data. I explained that this protection has gone all the way to the extent that the laboratories will not be given any personal information.


“They are only given the specimen bottles for them to conduct tests on the specimen, and then to tell the Department of Health of the specimen coming in bottles, which are the ones that are found to be positive.”


Mrs Lam added that she hopes these principles will reassure the public.

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