Mainland experts in HK to help with Covid testing - RTHK
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Mainland experts in HK to help with Covid testing

2020-08-02 HKT 18:52
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  • The mainland testing team leave Shenzhen for Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of the Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission's Weibo account
    The mainland testing team leave Shenzhen for Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of the Shenzhen Municipal Health Commission's Weibo account
  • One of the experts has her temperature checked at the Kowloon Metropark Hotel. Photo: RTHK
    One of the experts has her temperature checked at the Kowloon Metropark Hotel. Photo: RTHK
A mainland team of medical experts helping to conduct nucleic acid Covid-19 tests here arrived in Hong Kong on Sunday.

The government said the team will start work on Monday to assist with the preparation for a temporary laboratory, to help raise virus testing capability.

Shenzhen health authorities say on Weibo the team will meet with health authorities in Hong Kong and testing companies, such as the mainland firm BGI group.

The team leader, Yu Dewen, told RTHK he will be coming to Hong Kong to join other members in a few days.

Shenzhen health authorities said the group of seven has the advantage of speaking Cantonese. They are part of a team of 60 mainland experts to help fight the virus in Hong Kong.

Mainland media say the experts have a month's visa to stay in the SAR.

The Beijing mouthpiece, Wen Wei Po, earlier reported that the experts will help test the entire Hong Kong population. But local officials said that's still undecided, and they will carefully study the idea.

The expert team are staying at the Kowloon Metropark Hotel in Ho Man Tin. They were greeted there by mainland affairs minister Erick Tsang and health secretary Sophia Chan, as well as several lawmakers from the pro-Beijing DAB and FTU.

A disease expert from the Medical Association, Leung Chi-chiu, said it's hard to comment on the team's effectiveness when there's not much information made public about what they're going to do.

But he said local laboratories have long had a manpower shortage problem, and it's a good idea if they receive external help.

Leung also sought to ease fears about the team handling people's DNA. He said it's highly expensive to take DNA from saliva samples.