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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

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

The Government will issue a compulsory testing notice if COVID-19 cases are detected in two unlinked flats in the same building within 14 days.

Announcing the lower the threshold for compulsory testing at a press briefing today, Under Secretary for Food & Health Dr Chui Tak-yi said the move is aimed at reducing the spread of the virus in the community.

In a related development, Dr Chui noted that three residents of Fung Chak House at Choi Wan (II) Estate tested preliminary positive for COVID-19 after compulsory testing was ordered for the block on December 28.

The compulsory testing notice was published after a government-sponsored study by the University of Hong Kong found that sewage samples from Fung Chak House constantly tested positive for the virus.

Dr Chui maintained that compulsory testing is effective in curbing the spread of COVID-19 by identifying asymptomatic patients.

“About the sewer surveillance test in Fung Chak House and also the subsequent compulsory testing imposed on the residents of this building, I think this is a special case based on a special finding of a study that the Government approved this year, which involves a multi-disciplinary research team initiated by the University of Hong Kong’s Department of Civil Engineering.

“So the special finding is that because there are COVID-19 outbreaks in nearby buildings in that particular estate, it is natural to find some viral shedding in the sewage system.

“But one particular feature about this case is that there has been no reported COVID-19 cases in Fung Chak House specifically in the past few weeks, although there are some outbreaks in other buildings of the estate.

“So that may give us a hint, as mentioned by the researchers, that this case is worth following up because the sewage shows positive findings, yet there are no positive cases reported so far.

“The point is, should we do more tests on the residents there to find out whether there are hidden carriers or asymptomatic individuals? So that is why we proceeded with the compulsory testing for that particular building starting from yesterday.”

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News