HONG KONG, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) - Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam said on Monday that Hong Kong will continue to leverage technology to achieve even better results in the anti-epidemic work.
Lam inspected the surveillance work to detect the COVID-19 virus in sewage on Monday to learn more about the identification of asymptomatic patients in the community through sewage surveillance. She said that the anti-epidemic work of the HKSAR government has all along been based on science.
"The sewage surveillance project is an extremely good example of our joint efforts with local scientific teams to fight the virus with technology," she said.
Lam visited a sewage sampling site in Central and Western District set up by the Drainage Services Department (DSD) of the HKSAR government to inspect the sampling workflow. She then went to the public health laboratory of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) to learn about the treatment of samples and testing matters.
The HKSAR government's Environmental Protection Department and the DSD have been collaborating with the cross-disciplinary team of HKU in the research of sewage surveillance since last year. The technology has been applied in monitoring the situation of the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the community and individual buildings, providing crucial support for local health authorities in the identification of buildings and places for compulsory testing and related operations.
From the end of last year till now, the HKSAR government has conducted compulsory testing operations on more than 110 buildings with positive sewage testing results, identifying more than 50 confirmed cases.
Technological research and application is part of the HKSAR government's strategy and response in the fight against the epidemic, according to Lam.
The Health and Medical Research Fund of the HKSAR government has approved a total of 170 million HK dollars (about 21.92 million U.S. dollars) to support 49 medical research projects on COVID-19 by local universities. In addition, Hong Kong's University Grants Committee and the Research Grants Council have to date granted 350 million HK dollars to subsidise research projects in relation to COVID-19 and other novel infectious diseases.