The Hong Kong government announced a new temporary compulsory testing measure by which registered medical practitioners can issue a direction for patients they suspect of having Covid-19 to undergo a PCR test. This measure, which came into force on May 14, will remain in place until May 27.
During this time, patients must get tested within two days of receiving a written direction from a doctor. They can get tested by:
- Using a specimen bottle provided by the practitioner who issued the direction. They can use this to collect a deep throat saliva sample and submit it at a specimen collection point. The practitioner will inform the Department of Health (DH) about the patient’s suspected Covid-19 status and will get the test result.
- Arranging their own tests at a DH-recognised private laboratory. Patients must submit their test results to their practitioner within four days after their testing deadline.
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 government also stated that such patients should not queue up at mobile specimen collection stations or community testing centres to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. The authorities also recommended that people awaiting their test results should stay at home.
Currently, Hong Kong residents must undergo mandatory PCR tests if any premises they’ve been to have also been visited by a confirmed Covid-19 patient on certain dates and at certain times. This information is provided in a Compulsory Testing Notice (CTN). However, anyone who has already contracted Covid-19 within the previous three months does not need to get tested again.
Hongkongers are also subject to restriction-testing declaration (RTD) orders. Under this measure, anyone present at premises that mentioned in an RTD must get tested while there. They can only leave the premises if they receive negative test results. People who have tested positive either via PCR or rapid antigen tests (RAT) that they submitted to the DH within the previous 14 days are exempt from this testing measure.
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