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Government's response on Compulsory Universal Testing
     In response to the media enquiries about the details of the Compulsory Universal Testing (CUT) scheme and possible arrangements for the so-called "lockdown" thereunder, a spokesman for the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) today (March 1) reiterated that the Government would take into account the actual circumstances of Hong Kong and the views of various sectors when refining the details of the scheme, with the aim to cut the prevailing virus transmission chains in the community in a thorough, speedy, orderly and effective manner. During the process, due consideration would also be given to maintaining the operations of important and essential activities in society and addressing the needs of the public.

     The spokesman for the HKSAR Government said, "Considering the severity of the fifth wave of the epidemic and the continuous rise in both the confirmed cases and deaths, it is totally understandable for members of the public to feel anxious and worried. This is nonetheless the moment when they should stay vigilant and heed the information disseminated by the Government, so as to avoid being misled by rumours spread by individuals with ulterior motives and succumbing to unnecessary fear and irrational behaviour.

     "The CUT scheme is an integral part of the anti-epidemic action plan announced by the Chief Executive on February 22, which will help Hong Kong thoroughly pin down infections in the community. Given the large scale of the scheme which calls for precise execution, the Government has to plan the details carefully to ensure sufficient ancillary measures and manpower in place. The scheme is still being refined and, once confirmed, will be announced and widely publicised, such that members of the public will grasp the arrangements to avoid any misunderstanding or chaos.

     "Meanwhile, the Government will duly and comprehensively consider the impact of the scheme on the important economic aspects of Hong Kong and livelihood of the public. Of these, finance is the most internationalised sector. Hong Kong, as an international financial centre, must stay in touch with other markets at all times. We are aware that even when such measures as "city lockdown" or "home confinement" have been implemented in places where other financial markets are located, the financial operations remain unaffected. The HKSAR Government will take into account the characteristics of the financial sector and safeguard the status of Hong Kong as an international financial centre when implementing the CUT scheme.

     "Similarly, the experience of implementing a CUT initiative in other parts of the world shows that the basic needs of citizens such as food, necessities and the seeking of medical attention outside home should be addressed. Therefore, neither do citizens need to panic nor scramble or stockpile the relevant supplies.

     "In view of the recent market situation, the HKSAR Government has taken the initiative to contact major supermarkets, urging them to ensure a sufficient supply of goods. The HKSAR Government will continue to monitor the market situation closely and keep in touch with major suppliers to ensure a stable supply. Indeed, these days, the HKSAR Government has been working closely with the Guangdong Provincial Government and the Shenzhen Municipal People's Government to broaden the means to ensure the stable supplies of fresh food, vegetables and other goods, such as water and freight rail transportation, while seeking to enhance the operation of cross-boundary transportation of supplies at the same time."
Ends/Tuesday, March 1, 2022
Issued at HKT 23:11
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