Government strongly rebuts fallacious comments on Universal Community Testing Programme (with Chinese only graphics)
The spokesman said that the Government noted that a number of exaggerated and false comments about the UCTP were circulated on the Internet and social media platforms in recent days, which contained fallacious information in various areas including the way specimens will be collected, infection control, as well as accuracy and effectiveness of testing. Given that the Government has explained various issues through press releases, press conferences, the dedicated website (www.communitytest.gov.hk), posts on Tamar Talk as well as TV and radio programmes attended by relevant directors of bureaux, the Government has reasons to believe that the recent fallacious messages are deliberate attempts to scare people, intending to smear the UCTP and mislead members of the public in order to deter them from taking part in the programme.
"These acts run counter to the spirit of the community to fight the disease together, and fall short of the expectations of the medical personnel and a large number of frontline staff members who have been working hard to fight the virus as well as enterprises and members of the public in support of the programme. The acts are extremely disappointing and regretful and deserve the condemnation by the community," the spokesman said.
The spokesman stressed that the UCTP is safe, convenient and quick, providing full protection of personal privacy. People should rest assured that various infection control and social distancing measures are in place in all the 141 community testing centres across the territory and that personal particulars, including the specimens and the testing results, will be kept only in Hong Kong and for testing purposes. The Government will deal with the personal particulars of members of the public very carefully. The workflow does not involve any transfer of personal particulars to institutions or persons outside the territory.
"Data revealed that a quarter of COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic and many patients thought that they would not be infected before their cases were confirmed. In fact, in the arrangement by the Hospital Authority in the past month in which members of the public can collect specimen bottles at outpatient clinics for testing of their own accord, and the voluntary testing for target groups arranged by various Government departments, 62 and 87 asymptomatic patients were identified respectively, representing 0.22 per cent and 0.02 per cent of the total number of tests.
"The aforementioned testing on a limited basis suggests that there are still silent transmission chains in the community, posing a persistent threat related to the epidemic and which are unfavourable to the gradual relaxation of social distancing measures by the Government. With the full support of the Central Government this time round, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is equipped with the testing capability to launch the one-off UCTP to provide voluntary virus testing for all citizens, which is timely and offers reassuring support for the anti-epidemic work of Hong Kong.
"The more the number of people taking part in the UCTP, the more likely asymptomatic patients in the community are identified for isolation treatment, so that transmission chains can be cut and people's normal lives and economic activities can be resumed early," the spokesman said.
The spokesman reminded the public to take great care to thoughtfully consider the news on the UCTP and refer to the information disseminated by the Government if in doubt. The Government has set up a dedicated website (www.communitytest.gov.hk) for members of the public to make appointments for testing and disseminate accurate information about the programme. The Government made clarifications about the false information on the Internet and social media platforms through posts on Tamar Talk and other channels.
"The Government thanks more than 400 000 members of the public for making online appointments from yesterday. We will do our utmost to ensure that the specimen collection procedures for members of the public in the community testing centres are safe and orderly. We also express our heartfelt thanks to the groups and district organisations for helping members of the public to sign up for the programme and enterprises for facilitating staff members to conduct tests in the community testing centres," the spokesman said.
Protect yourselves and others, please participate in the UCTP.
Members of the public are welcome to visit www.communitytest.gov.hk to make appointments for testing now.
Ends/Sunday, August 30, 2020
Issued at HKT 19:19
Issued at HKT 19:19