Government steps up COVID-19 testing for employees and continues targeted social distancing and infection control measures

     In view of the developments of the epidemic situation, a Government spokesman said today (June 17) that government bureaux and departments (B/Ds) will step up the use of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests (RATs) for government employees with a view to cutting the hidden transmission chains as early as possible by increasing the coverage of staff and the frequency of testing.

     The spokesman said that, in order to identify infected persons and prevent the transmission of the virus as soon as possible, the Government will require government employees of the following categories to conduct RATs regularly or on a needs basis:
  • Staff crucial for maintaining the operation of B/Ds in times of emergency;
  • Staff who have to have contact with members of the public while performing duties;
  • Staff performing duties with a higher risk of infection or duties involving maintenance of critical infrastructure and provision of essential public services;
  • Staff having any particular need for surveillance (e.g. those having had contact with a positive case or close contact with a positive case in the office); and 
  • Staff who are subject to compulsory testing, etc.

     To cut the hidden transmission chains as early as possible, the Government has requested B/Ds to step up use of RATs for government employees. The number of staff members required to conduct an RAT daily will increase in a short period of time from about 78 000 in mid-April to over 106 000, accounting for 60 per cent of government employees. In addition, over 35 000 persons are required to perform RATs regularly on a risk basis.

     "The Government will keep the testing arrangements for its employees under review having regard to the development of the epidemic situation. We also encourage government service contractors to make similar stepped-up testing arrangements for their staff," the spokesman said.

     The Government has also reminded government employees to stay vigilant and requested B/Ds to continue to put in place targeted social distancing and infection control measures, including staggering of work and lunch hours, arranging video conferencing as far as possible and reducing non-essential staff functions.

     To reduce the flows of people in government buildings and offices as far as possible, the Government appeals to the public to receive the services they need through means such as post, drop-in boxes or online channels. If members of the public have to visit government buildings or offices, they should wear surgical masks at all times and comply with the infection control measures implemented by the relevant departments, including the use of the "LeaveHomeSafe" mobile application, temperature checks and crowd control arrangements.

Ends/Friday, June 17, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:29