Pressure mounts for increased testing for Covid-19 - RTHK
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Pressure mounts for increased testing for Covid-19

2020-04-05 HKT 13:31
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  • Pressure mounts for increased testing for Covid-19
Calls are mounting for increased testing to stem the spread of Covid-19 within the community - and to screen Hong Kong people seeking to return to the SAR.

Yuen Kwok-yung, the head of the microbiology department at the University of Hong Kong, on Sunday called for more extensive testing for patients with mild coronavirus symptoms, saying it was the best way to understand what's happening across the SAR.

"We don't really know what is happening in the community, in all 18 districts. I do believe that it's very important if we want to completely control this infection in Hong Kong to allow economic activities to resume and especially [for] schooling to resume," Yuen said.

He said Hong Kong could double the number of tests it does every day, by boosting staff levels at laboratories and adjusting their working hours.

Separately, an Executive Councillor, Lam Ching-choi, said on Sunday that around 65 Hong Kong residents who were stranded in Peru will have to wait for their quarantine test results before being allowed to return home.

Lam says this is to prevent so-called silent carriers of the coronavirus causing local infections.

Under the current system, airport arrivals with no symptoms have been allowed to do a saliva test at home. But Lam says a small number failed to return their sample.

The stranded residents from Peru are due to arrive on Sunday afternoon, after transiting in London.

Lam said the government plans to extend the new testing arrangement for other arrivals in future.

Yuen also apologised for his remarks in an RTHK interview earlier that some officials "would not cry until they see the coffin" when commenting on their attitude towards the outbreak.

He said his choice of words may have been too strong, but he said that was only because he was worried about the virus situation.