Government finishes exercise on "restriction-testing declaration" in respect of specified "restricted area" in Kowloon City and enforcement operation on breaches of compulsory testing notice (with photo)

     The Government yesterday (February 1) exercised the power under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation (Cap. 599J) to make a "restriction-testing declaration" (declaration) effective from 8pm yesterday, under which people (hereafter referred to as "persons subject to compulsory testing") within the specified "restricted area" in Kowloon City (i.e. Loong King Mansion, 23-35 Ma Tau Wai Road) were required to stay in their premises and undergo compulsory testing. Persons subject to compulsory testing were required to stay in their premises until all such persons identified in the area had undergone testing and the test results were mostly ascertained before leaving the premises. Moreover, the Government issued a compulsory testing notice yesterday, requiring persons who had been present at Loong King Mansion for more than two hours between January 19 and February 1, 2021, even if they were not present in the "restricted area" at the time when the declaration took effect, to undergo compulsory testing before February 3. The Government announced the completion of the compulsory testing exercise at around 7am today (February 2) and carried out enforcement actions in the "restricted area" afterwards to verify that all people in the "restricted area" had undergone compulsory testing in accordance with the requirements of the declaration and the compulsory testing notice. The Government announced that the enforcement operation ended at about 11.45am today.

     In this exercise, the Home Affairs Department (HAD), the Kowloon City District Office, the Hong Kong Police Force, the Fire Services Department, the Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the Auxiliary Medical Service mobilised around 361 staff in total to arrange for implementation of the declaration and enforcement actions for breaches of the compulsory testing notice issued earlier.

     The Government provided simple food for persons who were subject to compulsory testing, including food packs, canned food, soy milk and corn, so as to facilitate the dinner arrangements of those who were subject to compulsory testing. They were also given a box of masks for assisting them to fight against the virus.

     The HAD also set up a hotline for people restricted by the declaration to make enquiries and seek assistance. 

     The Government would like to offer thanks for the support and understanding from persons who were subject to compulsory testing. With everyone's co-operation and efforts, coupled with the tireless efforts of the testing contractors, residents were informed about their testing results by SMS notification. After finishing the compulsory testing exercise at about 7am today, the Government took enforcement action in the "restricted area" immediately to verify whether all people in the "restricted area" had undergone testing in accordance with the requirements of the declaration and the compulsory testing notice. Persons who could present an SMS notification containing a negative testing result or wore a wristband as proof of having undergone the compulsory testing could leave the "restricted area" through the designated exit after providing personal information to a prescribed officer. The enforcement operation was completed at about 11.45am. Three persons were found to have not undergone compulsory testing. A fixed penalty of $5,000 and a compulsory testing order were issued to them. Taking into account the above situation, the Secretary for Food and Health revoked the "restriction-testing declaration" according to Cap. 599J (see attachment).
     The Government hopes the some 30 households who had not answered the door will contact the Government for arranging testing as soon as possible after they have read the notices put up by the Government, in the hope of eliminating the possible risk of further spread of the virus in the community.

     The Government understands that residents in the district are worried and anxious because of the increase in confirmed cases in recent days. The Government hopes this temporary inconvenience will completely cut the local transmission chains in the district and ease residents' worries and fear, so that they will regain confidence in resuming social and business activities in the area, and resume a normal life.

     The Government would like to thank all participating government staff and the testing agencies for their hard work. The Government is also grateful to the persons who were subject to compulsory testing again for their support and understanding, and their full co-operation during this period in undergoing testing and waiting for the results at home.

     The Government as a whole is united in fighting against the virus despite all the difficulties, and provided testing for all the residents in the district within a short period of time in the hope of achieving zero cases in the district.

     The Government will seriously follow up on the compliance situation of the compulsory testing notices and the "restriction-testing declaration" by persons who were subject to compulsory testing. Any person who fails to comply with the compulsory testing notices commits an offence and may be liable to a fixed penalty of $5,000. The person will also be issued with a compulsory testing order, requiring him or her to undergo testing within a specified time frame. Failure to comply with the order or the "restriction-testing declaration" is an offence and the offender may be liable to a fine of level 4 ($25,000) and imprisonment for six months.

Ends/Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Issued at HKT 17:32