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Government to gazette compulsory testing notice
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     The Government will exercise the power under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation (Cap. 599J) and publish in the Gazette a compulsory testing notice, which requires any person who had been present at 46 specified premises during the specified period (persons subject to compulsory testing) to undergo a COVID-19 nucleic acid test.
 
      Currently, in all districts in Hong Kong, if one or more new confirmed cases are found in the residential buildings (including buildings for both commercial and residential uses), or there are sewage samples tested positive, or there are other factors which implied possible infection risks, the buildings will be included in the compulsory testing notice.

     In view of the positive imported case with the preliminary test result involving N501Y mutant strain recorded today (May 3) and the result of sewage sample tests, two premises fulfilling the above criteria are included in the compulsory testing notice. In addition, upon further investigation by the Centre for Health Protection, an earlier confirmed case with unknown sources of infection involving N501Y mutation strain had been present at two specified premises. Relevant persons are also required to undergo compulsory testing.
  
     In addition, since there were outbreaks of upper respiratory tract infection and/or influenza-like illness in 42 schools, and the symptoms of the concerned diseases are similar to those of COVID-19, for prudence's sake, the 42 schools are also covered in the compulsory testing notice.

     Details of the compulsory testing notice are at Annex 1. Persons who have completed a COVID-19 vaccination course would be taken to have complied with the requirements set out in the compulsory testing notices.
 
     A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau reminded the public that in accordance with the compulsory testing notice issued earlier, all household members of close contacts are required to undergo compulsory testing. Any person who had lived with a person placed under quarantine pursuant to section 22 of the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation (Cap. 599A) (person under quarantine) in the same residential unit on the date of commencement of quarantine or during the 14 days before that day, and who becomes aware of the quarantine of the person under quarantine when the relevant quarantine has not yet been completed, has to undergo testing within two days of him or her becoming aware that the person under quarantine has been placed under quarantine and report to the Government the result of the test by phone (at 6275 6901), fax (at 2530 5872) or email ([email protected]) within three days of undergoing the test.
     
     The spokesman thanked the general public for their co-operation in undergoing compulsory testing for fighting the virus together.
 
     Specimens were collected for over 115 000 persons (including more than 70 000 foreign domestic helpers (FDHs)) yesterday (May 2) at 21 community testing centres (CTCs) and 36 mobile specimen collection stations, making it a record high for daily specimen collection at CTCs/mobile specimen collection stations in Hong Kong. The Government also set up an additional mobile specimen collection station at Sai Ying Pun Community Complex today to enhance service.
 
     For FDHs who have yet to receive testing, they can still make use of the service provided at CTCs and mobile specimen collection stations in the coming six days. Currently, there are a total of 21 CTCs providing testing service for the public, including free service for persons subject to compulsory testing. The number of tests available for appointments at CTCs has been increased to over 38 000 per day, and additional manpower has been deployed to serve the public. As of 6pm today, there are close to 14 000 booking places available for the next six days (May 4 to 9) at the 21 CTCs. Booking and walk-in services are available. Members of the public only need to provide simple personal information on the 24-hour booking system (www.communitytest.gov.hk/en). Booking status of centres for the coming week will be shown for public's selection of suitable testing centre and time slot for testing. The testing centres will accord priority to serve individuals with advance bookings. Members of the public may call the testing centres for enquiries on the availability of bookings or walk-in quotas before visiting the centres. The Government reminds FDHs who have made bookings to visit their selected centre at the booked time slot for testing, and those who have yet to receive testing to book online book to utilise the remaining quotas.
 
     The Government will add one more mobile specimen collection station for persons subject to compulsory testing (including FDHs) at Hing Wah (II) Estate in Chai Wan tomorrow (May 4), and extend the service period of the station at Fu Tung Estate in Tung Chung to May 5. Coupled with the 21 CTCs, there will be a total of 48 CTCs/mobile specimen collection stations in various districts tomorrow to provide free service for persons subject to compulsory testing (including FDHs), the testing capacity should be sufficient to meet the demand. The opening dates and operating hours of the mobile specimen collection stations in various districts providing free COVID-19 nucleic acid testing services for the general public are stated in Annex 2.

     Persons subject to compulsory testing may choose to undergo testing via the following routes:

1. To visit any of the mobile specimen collection stations (see the list and target groups (if applicable) at www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/early-testing.html) for testing;
2. To attend any of the community testing centres (see the list at www.communitytest.gov.hk/en);
3. To obtain a deep throat saliva specimen collection pack from any of the 121 post offices, vending machines set up at 20 MTR stations or 47 designated general outpatient clinics (GOPCs) of the Hospital Authority and return the specimen to one of the designated specimen collection points (see the distribution points and times, and the specimen collection points and times, at www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/early-testing.html);
4. To undergo testing at any of the GOPCs of the Hospital Authority as instructed by a medical professional of the Hospital Authority;
5. To self-arrange testing provided by private laboratories which are recognised by the Department of Health (DH) and can issue SMS notifications in respect of test results (see the list at www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/List_of_recognised_laboratories_RTPCR.pdf); or
6.To use a specimen bottle distributed to the relevant specified premises by the CHP (if applicable), and return the specimen bottle with the sample collected as per relevant guidelines.

     The spokesman cautioned that testing received at Accident and Emergency Departments of the Hospital Authority or during hospital stays, or testing provided by private laboratories which cannot issue SMS notifications in respect of test results, does not comply with the requirements of the aforementioned compulsory testing notice.

     "If persons subject to compulsory testing have symptoms, they should seek medical attention immediately and undergo testing as instructed by a medical professional. They should not attend the mobile specimen collection stations or the community testing centres."

     Persons subject to compulsory testing must keep the SMS notification containing the result of the test for checking by a law enforcement officer when the officer requires the persons to provide information about their undergoing the specified test.

     Furthermore, persons subject to testing under the compulsory testing notices should, as far as reasonably practicable, take appropriate personal disease prevention measures including wearing a mask and maintaining hand hygiene, and, unless for the purpose of undergoing the specified test, stay at their place of residence and avoid going out until the test result is ascertained as far as possible.

     Any enquiries on compulsory testing arrangements may be addressed to the hotline at 6275 6901, which operates daily from 9am to 6pm. If persons subject to compulsory testing plan to conduct testing at any of the community testing centres, they can check the centre's appointment status in advance. The hotlines of the community testing centres are available at www.communitytest.gov.hk/en/info.

     The Government will continue to trace possibly infected persons who had been to the relevant premises, and seriously verify whether they had complied with the testing notices. Any person who fails to comply with the testing notices commits an offence and may be fined a fixed penalty of $5,000. The person would 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 is an offence and the offender would be liable to a fine at level 4 ($25,000) and imprisonment for six months.

     Relevant officers of different government departments are empowered to perform certain functions under the relevant Regulations under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap. 599), including requesting individuals to provide information and assistance when necessary. Any person who fails to comply with the relevant request commits an offence and would be liable to a fine at level 3 ($10,000). Collection and use of any personal data for conducting COVID-19 tests must meet the requirements under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap. 486). Government departments or testing service providers which handle the relevant information may provide the data to the DH or other relevant departments for anti-epidemic purposes as necessary. The workflow does not involve the provision of any personal data to organisations or persons outside Hong Kong.

     The spokesman said, "The Government urges all individuals who are in doubt about their own health conditions, or individuals with infection risks (such as individuals who visited places with epidemic outbreaks or contacted confirmed cases), to undergo testing promptly for early identification of infected persons."
 
Ends/Monday, May 3, 2021
Issued at HKT 23:59
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