Mainland medics 'raise privacy concerns' - RTHK
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Mainland medics 'raise privacy concerns'

2020-08-02 HKT 15:22
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  • Tsuen Wan district councillor Roy Tam says Hong Kong people are concerned about the way their DNA is handled. Photo: RTHK
    Tsuen Wan district councillor Roy Tam says Hong Kong people are concerned about the way their DNA is handled. Photo: RTHK
Roy Tam speaks to RTHK's Richard Pyne
A group of district councillors on Sunday warned against allowing mainland medical practitioners to conduct citywide Covid-19 testing in the SAR, saying people here are concerned about the handling of test samples that contain people's DNA.

Seven experts from the mainland – a pilot group among 60 who will be sent to the SAR – arrived on Sunday to boost Hong Kong's coronavirus testing capacity and help detect hidden carriers in the community.

The group will also help build a makeshift coronavirus facility, known as "fangcang hospitals".

But Neo Democrat Roy Tam said medical staff from the mainland aren't trained to work in Hong Kong, and would not be held accountable if mistakes are made.

He said the SAR government should rely on its own resources to boost local coronavirus testing, and it should make public whether local medics – both public and private – already meet demands.

Neo Democrat councillors led a protest outside the Hospital Authority's headquarters in Kowloon City on Sunday.

Tam said Hong Kong people are concerned how the tests containing people's DNA will be handled, and if their privacy will be protected.

He told RTHK's Richard Pyne only high-risk groups, instead of the entire local population, should be tested.

As the councillors spoke to the press, police arrived and asked them to disperse, accusing them of violating social-distancing rules. Officers recorded their personal information but did not give them penalty tickets.

Mainland authorities have dismissed what they see as conspiracy theories over Beijing’s offer to help Hong Kong fight Covid-19. The liaison office earlier criticised those who suggested there's adequate local manpower and no need to ask Beijing for help, or that mainland medics won't fit in here. It says people made these claims out of political considerations.