CE learns more about compulsory testing notice enforcement action at Jat Min Chuen, Sha Tin (with photos/video)
Several confirmed cases were found on a particular floor at Ming Yan Lau last week. To suppress the spread of the virus, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health mandated that people who had been present at Ming Yan Lau for more than two hours during a specified period had to undergo tests on or before December 21, having regard to the policy that all specified persons should be compulsorily tested. During the period, a mobile specimen collection station was set up at the estate to provide convenient and free testing for residents. Meanwhile, residents were also allowed to comply with the testing requirement through other means.
Accompanied by the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Caspar Tsui, Mrs Lam was briefed by the District Officer (Sha Tin), Dr Janet Wong, on the enforcement action at Ming Yan Lau that started at 6am today. Mrs Lam noted that the enforcement action included checking residents' certification of negative test results at the entrance of the building as well as conducting checks on the certification of the residents at home by visiting each household. Since it was the first enforcement action on a compulsory testing notice, residents found not to have undergone tests as required were immediately arranged to undergo tests at the mobile specimen collection station set up at the estate. As at 6pm today, a total of 390 residents had undergone tests.
The enforcement action was co-ordinated by the Home Affairs Department and the Sha Tin District Office, and included the participation of Tin Sum Police Station, the Auxiliary Medical Service, the Hong Kong Housing Society and a testing agency. During the visit, Mrs Lam explained to a resident that strict enforcement action on compulsory testing would help achieve the purpose of clearing infection in the community. Noting that some residents could not produce testing certification because they had undergone tests through the use of deep throat saliva specimen bottles, Mrs Lam said she agreed that improvement should be made and thanked for the co-operation of the residents. The operation was in general conducted smoothly.
The Government exercised for the first time on November 22 the power under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation (Cap. 599J), which empowers the authority to issue a compulsory testing notice, specifying a category or description of persons who are required to undergo a viral test having regard to the epidemic situation in order to achieve "early identification, early isolation and early treatment". The Food and Health Bureau has since issued a number of compulsory testing notices, covering persons who had been to over 50 specified premises during specified periods, staff members of residential care homes for the elderly and residential care homes for persons with disabilities, taxi drivers and symptomatic persons who had been required by private medical practitioners to undergo tests. Together with the persons who are required by the Hospital Authority or the CHP to undergo compulsory testing, more than 440 000 compulsory tests have been completed since the onset after mid-November of the new wave of epidemic, through which nearly 2 000 confirmed cases have been identified.
"Public support and participation is of paramount importance to anti-epidemic efforts. I would like to express my gratitude to the majority of the members of the public for their proactive co-operation on the anti-epidemic measures, including undergoing tests as required by compulsory testing notices and complying with social distancing measures. The Government will take firm law enforcement action against the offences by a minority of the public. The relevant departments will consolidate the experience of the operation today and will continue to take similar law enforcement action in the future and consider issuing fixed penalty tickets against offenders in accordance with the law.
"Since the epidemic situation remains severe, I, once again, appeal to members of the public to continue to strictly comply with the social distancing measures and stay at home during the Christmas and New Year holidays to support the healthcare workers and all those colleagues who are on the front line to make their best endeavours to fight the disease," Mrs Lam said.
Ends/Thursday, December 24, 2020
Issued at HKT 23:55
Issued at HKT 23:55