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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

The Food & Health Bureau met the testing agencies of the community testing centres today to discuss the Government’s latest overall testing strategy under the fourth wave of the local COVID-19 epidemic.

They also exchanged views on the operation of the community testing centres and mobile specimen collection stations.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan joined part of the meeting.

Mrs Lam thanked the testing agencies for making every effort to fight the virus in unison with the Government and the public throughout the severe epidemic, including mobilising resources under an emergency situation and setting up the community testing centres and mobile specimen collection stations in a short period of time.

The Government explained that it has been stepping up surveillance and testing efforts in a multi-pronged approach.

To identify cases in the community as early as possible to help cut the transmission chains, specified people are required to undergo compulsory testing.

Members of the public are also encouraged to undergo testing on either an obligatory basis or voluntary basis through the Targeted Group Testing Scheme.

The community testing centres provide self-paid testing services for the public at a more affordable price to serve general community or private purposes such as certification for travelling or work.

In situations with higher risks of community transmission or when necessary, testing would also be conducted for target groups, specified people or other members of the public at the testing centres for public health reasons on a needs basis.

The Government also arranges for testing agencies to provide free testing services through mobile specimen collection stations in the districts with a number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to facilitate and encourage residents of the districts or individuals who perceive themselves as having a higher risk of exposure to undergo testing.

Currently, 18 community testing centres have commenced service on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon, New Territories East and New Territories West, providing testing services for over 10,000 people per day.

Coupled with the community testing centre to commence service soon at Ngau Tau Kok Road Sports Centre, the total daily testing capacity will exceed 20,000 tests.

Since their opening from November 15, in the past month, the community testing centres had provided testing service for about 245,000 people, of which 477 samples tested preliminarily positive (0.19%) and had been referred to the Centre for Health Protection for confirmatory tests and follow-up.

From November 23 to December 15, the Government had set up a total of 17 mobile specimen collection stations or specimen bottle distribution points, which provided testing service for a total of more than 103,000 people, of which 112 samples tested preliminarily positive (0.11%).

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News