Hong Kong Begins Mass Coronavirus Testing Amid Security Concerns from Residents

A mass-testing programme has begun in Hong Kong for the coronavirus as part of a strategy to break the chain of transmission as the city suffers its third outbreak of the disease.

THE apparently voluntary programme has become an issue of hot political debate in Hong Kong, with many distrustful over the resources and staff being provided by China’s central government. Residents’ are worried that their DNA could be collected during the exercise. The Hong Kong government dismissed the concerns, saying that no personal data will be attached to the specimen bottles and that samples will be destroyed in Hong Kong after the exercise.

The testing programme began at 8am with residents directed to one of more than 100 testing centres staffed by over 5,000 volunteers. Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said at her weekly news conference on Tuesday that over 10,000 people, including most of Hong Kong’s government ministers, had already received testing on Tuesday morning.

As of Monday evening, about 553,000 people had successfully registered for the Universal Community Testing Programme (UCTP) in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government said.

Among the 141 community testing centres, nearly 70 per cent, or 97 sites, have been fully booked on the first day of the UCTP, and 14 such centres have been fully booked for the period between September 1 to 7, according to an announcement released by the government.

It was revealed recently that a Hong Kong man was infected twice by different versions of the Covid-19 virus, four and a half months apart.

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Tony Winterburn

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