A health worker prepares to take a swab sample from a taxi driver to test for COVID-19 in Hong Kong, July 24, 2020. [EDMOND TANG/CHINA DAILY]
HONG KONG – A free coronavirus testing scheme for Hong Kong residents is expected to begin on Aug 31 at the earliest, local media reported Monday citing a veteran doctor.
Residents who want to be tested can go to temporary centers in the city's 18 districts to have their nasopharyngeal and throat swabs specimen collected by medical staff during the two-week scheme, Henry Yeung Chiu-fat said referring to the latest government notice he has received.
The authorities first thought about starting the testing on Aug 24. They however had to delay it for one week as there could still be some logistic issues to take care of, said Yeung, who chairs the Hong Kong Doctors Union.
The free testing was first unveiled on Aug 7, as Hong Kong battled to rein in its worst wave of COVID-19 infections with 12 straight days of triple-digit daily rise in new cases from late-July to early this month.
The government expected about five million to register for the testing, so that asymptomatic patients in the community can be traced and treated.
Yeung earlier revealed that the government planned to enlist 2,000 medical professionals to facilitate sample collection.
The Department of Health said it was unable to confirm China Daily the starting date of the testing.
A medical source told China Daily that there's no confirmed information on when the testing will begin, adding that "quite a number of issues need to be solved" before launching the scheme.