The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is mulling prolonging the seven-day universal community nucleic acid testing scheme, as registration in some testing centers are fully booked with more than 710,000 residents signing up as of Wednesday morning.
Residents in Hong Kong participate in the coronavirus universal community testing program on Tuesday. About 580,000 people have signed up for the testing online so far. (Photo: VCG)
Secretary for the Civil Service, Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, revealed that more than 126,000 residents had been tested on the first day of the scheme on Tuesday and 82 out of 144 testing centers on Wednesday are also fully booked. Nip said testing centers will increase the testing amount on Thursday to meet demand.
Nip believes that the number of appointments will gradually increase. The SAR government will mull whether to extend the testing program by seven days, or just extend the dates for some individual testing centers.
Testing is widely considered the best way for the city to bring the epidemic under control, reopen its economy and resume normalcy.
The number of new cases in Hong Kong has been hovering at around 10-20 every day, with 12 confirmed infections reported Tuesday, but more than one-third of these cases are of unknown origin, and a hidden chain of transmission in the community continues to pose a challenge.
Although the epidemic in Hong Kong is currently easing, Nip said he still calls on the public to actively participate in testing, saying that if the epidemic can be ended quickly, there will be room to further relax epidemic prevention measures.