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Hong Kong to supply free COVID-19 testing for all residents

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HONG KONG: Hong Kong will supply free voluntary coronavirus testing for residents, chief Carrie Lam mentioned on Friday (Aug 7), as the worldwide monetary hub races to comprise a resurgence of the virus over the previous month. 

The plan, which is able to allow citywide testing for the primary time, is prone to be applied in two weeks on the earliest, Chief Govt Lam mentioned.

The announcement comes lower than per week after China sent a team of health officials to Hong Kong to hold out widespread testing for COVID-19. It’s the first time mainland well being officers have assisted Hong Kong in its battle to regulate the coronavirus.

“The state of affairs in Hong Kong continues to be essential, with the variety of circumstances remaining excessive,” Lam instructed reporters as she sat in entrance of a large-screen digital backdrop which learn “Combat the virus with the central authorities’s full assist”.

Lam mentioned she had requested Beijing in late July to assist enhance Hong Kong’s virus testing capabilities and amenities.

“We wish to do it as quickly as attainable inside brief length, as a result of the sooner that we may establish these silent transmitters, the higher,” Lam mentioned.

The testing will probably be carried out by Hong Kong subsidiaries of three mainland corporations together with Chinese language genomics agency BGI Group, she added.

Lam additionally sought to dispel fears amongst some folks that China might use it as a chance to gather DNA samples for surveillance functions.

“It’s a false accusation and smear to say DNA samples of Hong Kong residents can be despatched to the mainland,” Lam mentioned, including that every one samples can be destroyed after testing.

“If individuals nonetheless have issues, they needn’t come ahead,” she mentioned.

“That is a wholly voluntary programme to supply testing for many who wish to have a take a look at.”

She added that “conspiracy theories” have been “damaging the connection between the central authorities and Hong Kong”.

READ: Pet cat and dog in two separate areas in Hong Kong test positive for COVID-19

The Nationwide Well being Fee of China despatched an “advance unit” of scientific laboratory employees to the town on Sunday.

Lam mentioned one other staff has been set as much as help in constructing Hong Kong a makeshift hospital much like these erected when the virus first emerged within the central Chinese language metropolis of Wuhan.

Authorities not too long ago opened a 500-bed short-term facility to deal with non-serious infections in an exhibition centre close to the airport, and predict to spice up its capability by including 1,400 beds.

The brand new short-term hospital will probably be constructed close by.

Hong Kong noticed a surge in regionally transmitted coronavirus circumstances at the beginning of July and launched a raft of tightening measures together with proscribing gatherings to 2 individuals and making carrying masks obligatory in all outside public areas.

Since January round 3,900 individuals have been contaminated in Hong Kong, 46 of whom have died. Hong Kong reported 89 new coronavirus circumstances on Friday, of which 81 have been regionally transmitted.

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