PCR test a must for hospital visits

July 28, 2022

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


The Hospital Authority announced today that new testing requirements for visitors of public hospitals will take effect on August 1 in an effort to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19 and enhance the protection of hospital patients.


At a press briefing this afternoon, Hospital Authority Chief Manager (Clinical Effectiveness & Technology Management) Dr Gladys Kwan said: “We are aware that the hospital is an important place to safeguard because our patients are very vulnerable to any infections. So apart from the increased enhancement in the surveillance for our staff as well as our patients, we have this new arrangement.”


From next Monday, all special visitors, including those who have recovered from COVID-19, must provide a negative COVID‐19 polymerase chain reaction-based nucleic acid test result obtained within 48 hours.


Prospective visitors may get a free virus test at community testing centres or mobile specimen collection stations if they indicate to the on-site staff that they are taking the test for the purpose of fulfilling the requirements for visiting patients in public hospitals, the authority noted.


Alternatively, visitors may have their test done at any recognised organisaton, provided that the specimen is taken through combined nasal and throat swabs and not collected by the actual person undergoing testing.


The testing requirements also apply to compassionate visits under specific circumstances.


However, these requirements do not apply to senior citizens who are already established patients at public hospitals.


“They may come to the hospital to seek medical services - they are not considered as visitors,” Dr Kwan explained.


Meanwhile, the testing requirements for compassionate visiting arrangements for critical or end-of-life patients remain unchanged.


The authority reiterated that visitors are required to comply with Vaccine Pass requirements. Those holding a COVID-19 Vaccination Medical Exemption Certificate with a valid exemption in the Vaccine Pass are allowed to visit patients as long as they fulfil the new testing requirements.


Hospital staff will contact the patients’ relatives for appointments so they need not call the hospital for booking, the authority added.

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