Secretary for Health visits community testing centre (with photos)

     The Secretary for Health, Professor Lo Chung-mau, visited a community testing centre (CTC) this morning (January 9) to learn more about its operation and the situation of members of the public undergoing tests there. The Government also announced the testing arrangement for young children aged under three.

     Professor Lo visited the CTC at To Kwa Wan Sports Centre to get a better grasp of the operation of the relevant nucleic acid testing arrangement in relation to the first phase of resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland effective from yesterday (January 8). He was pleased to note that the centre has been operating smoothly, with staff members being able to provide the required information and assistance to members of the public, appropriate crowd control measures being in place inside and outside the centre and the orderly manner of people undergoing tests. Professor Lo chatted with staff of the CTC and thanked them for their contributions to the resumption of normal travel and the fight against the epidemic.

     Professor Lo said, "I am glad to note that community testing service contractors have actively deployed manpower and resources to cater for the resumption of normal travel, including setting up more self-paid service counters at testing points to reduce the on-site waiting time of testees. The Government will continue to closely monitor the testing demand and maintain communication with contractors to make corresponding adjustments to the number and service hours of testing facilities in accordance with actual circumstances with a view to further enhancing the testing capacity when required.

     "Since January 6 (Friday), an average of more than 25 000 self-paid nucleic acid tests have been conducted each day at all community testing centres/stations (CTC/CTSs) across the city and testing capacity is still sufficient. Separately, although the 'LeaveHomeSafe' system ceased operation, I recommend members of the public continue to keep using the 'PCR Testing Registration Code' in the application so as to ensure the accuracy of the registered information and enjoy a smoother and quicker testing process."

Sufficient overall community testing capacity

     There are currently over 80 CTC/CTSs in various districts across the city to provide self-paid nucleic acid testing service for travelling to the Mainland. To cope with the needs arising from resumption of normal travel, the available time slots open up for online booking have been increased from the next two weeks to the next four weeks.

     As at 6pm today, there are still on average around 100 000 daily CTC/CTS booking quota available for the coming three days.

Points-to-note for testees

    Persons heading to the Mainland must use self-paid nucleic acid testing service to obtain electronic or paper form reports containing their personal information issued by testing institutions for checking by staff at the boundary control points. Persons who used the self-paid testing service can also download their "self-paid nucleic acid testing electronic record" from the COVID-19 Electronic Testing Record System and obtain the relevant record in electronic / screen capture / paper form. Results of free community test shown in mobile phone SMS will not be accepted for cross-boundary and outbound travel. 

     Apart from CTC/CTSs, some private hospitals and private laboratories also provide self-paid nucleic acid testing service to members of the public for the purpose of cross-boundary travel.

     Except certain busier time slots, persons undergoing testing at CTC/CTSs can generally complete the whole self-paid testing process in 15 to 20 minutes. To reduce waiting time as far as possible, the Government strongly advises testees to:
     Separately, ticketing machines have been installed in all testing points and will be activated based on on-site conditions. Members of the public who have obtained a ticket can visit the CTC website to check the real-time queueing ticket status, so as to reduce their waiting time on-site.
Testing arrangement for young children aged under three

     In view of the needs arising from resumption of normal travel, upon assessment of operational experience, CTC/CTSs will extend service to young children aged under three starting tomorrow (January 10). In other words, except for individual persons who may not be suitable for respiratory specimen collection (such as people who have undergone throat or nasal operations), other persons including young children aged under three may undergo swabbing with their samples collected by professionals at CTC/CTSs for testing (including self-paid "throat swab" nucleic acid test for entering the Mainland). If necessary, healthcare professionals at CTC/CTSs will assess whether the individual (in particular babies aged below one) is suitable to undergo swabbing, so as to ensure that the swabbing procedures are conducted under safe conditions.

Ends/Monday, January 9, 2023
Issued at HKT 22:10