Universal testing plan shelved

March 21, 2022

The Government has decided to suspend the Compulsory Universal Testing (CUT) scheme which was originally planned to roll out within March, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced today.


At a press conference this morning, Mrs Lam said the Government has been refining its plan over the past month by taking into account its manpower, resources and venues that are needed for the scheme.


As an operation of an unprecedented scale, the scheme will also require certain restrictions on the movement of people.


The Chief Executive cited the advice of Mainland and local experts who stated that such a CUT exercise should either be conducted at the outset of an epidemic outbreak to curb the virus' spread, or towards the end of it to achieve zero infection.


Considering that the number of COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong remains on the high side, the experts opined that it is not appropriate to shift the limited resources to a citywide exercise of nucleic acid testing.


Moreover, the experts pointed out that the city's ability of community organisation is relatively weak as compared to the Mainland, rendering it difficult to achieve citywide screening albeit with legal backing.


Mrs Lam stressed that the Government will continue to review the epidemic situation, adding that careful consideration will be given on whether to conduct a CUT exercise in the future.

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