UPDATE: On September 16, the Hong Kong government extended this measure until September 30.
The Hong Kong government announced that registered medical practitioners in the city can issue written directives to patients they suspect of having Covid-19 to get tested for the virus. Patients who receive these directives must get tested within two days after receiving them, or they will be fined $10,000.
The temporary mandatory testing measure will run from September 3 till September 16. Patients can take their PCR tests in two ways:
- They may use a specimen bottle provided by the doctor who issued the directive to collect a deep throat saliva specimen and submit it to a designated collection point. The doctor will report the suspected case to the Department of Health (DH) and will receive the results of the test.
- They can arrange to get tested themselves at DH-recognised private laboratories and submit the results to their doctor.
The testing deadline will be extended by one day in case of extreme weather such as a Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 3 or above, a Red or Black Rainstorm Warning Signal, or if the government announces post-super typhoon ‘extreme conditions’.
The authorities also advised that suspected Covid-19 patients should not line up at mobile specimen collection stations or community testing centres as this may increase the likelihood of the virus spreading within the community. The government also recommended that people awaiting their test results should stay at home.
The last time the Hong Kong government announced this testing measure was for two weeks in May 2022, after the peak of the fifth wave of the pandemic in the city.
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