Universal COVID-19 Testing Set for City in March

Universal COVID-19 Testing Set for City in March

Chief Executive Carrie Lam yesterday announced a compulsory universal COVID-19 testing (CUT) programme, ordering 7.4 million residents to visit testing centres three times in March to be tested for COVID-19.

Lam told the press the exercise will be aimed at identifying asymptomatic carriers in the community in a bid to curb the latest wave of local infections in the city.

In the plan, hundreds of testing centres will be opened across the city, and testing schedule will be based on people’s year of birth. In between government tests, people will be told to take rapid tests every day, and given KN95 face masks to offer a high level of protection against COVID-19.

With the help of the mainland, Lam said the daily testing capacity could be upped to one million a day to cover the testing of the city’s population.

She reiterated that Hong Kong will not be placed under lockdown during the length of the exercise.

"We have no plans to disallow people to leave their homes because that would be very difficult to implement because a large number of people have to go out to work especially in relation to the anti-epidemic work," she said.

"Let's not focus on lockdown. Let's focus on how we can ensure the 7.4 million people in Hong Kong will embrace this compulsory universal testing and take an active part so that it will be a successful scheme."

Lam added people who test positive for the virus will be sent to isolation facilities set up by the government, as home quarantine is not suitable for asymptomatic or symptomatic people.

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