Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority (HA) announced that starting August 1, all special visitors to public hospitals must test negative for Covid-19 before entering the premises, even if they have recovered from the virus. Visitors must provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of entering a hospital.
Visitors can get tested at any of the following facilities:
- Community Testing Centres (CTCs)
- Mobile specimen collection stations
- Any government-recognised testing institution
Only test results obtained via combined nasal and throat swabs at these facilities are valid. The test will be conducted for free at CTCs and mobile specimen collection stations for members of the public who tell staff they need the results to enter a public hospital as a visitor. These conditions also apply to residents who apply for compassionate visits under specific circumstances.
There are no changes to compassionate visiting arrangements for critical or end-of-life patients. Visitors may provide either a PCR test negative result obtained within 48 hours or a rapid antigen test (RAT) negative result obtained within 24 hours before the visit. Those who test negative via RAT before the visit must undergo a PCR test and then submit a negative test result two days after the visit.
If a visitor cannot test in advance because of an emergency, they may undergo a RAT and provide the result as soon as they obtain it. They must subsequently undergo a PCR test and provide a negative test result within two days after the visit.
Visitors must also have a valid vaccine pass and fill out a health declaration form on the HA website or the HA Go app 24 hours before their visit and present the QR code upon entry to ward staff. The new measures apply only to visitors, not to patients even if they have an appointment letter.
Header image credits: Daimockowera via Wiki Commons