DNA won't be sent to mainland in virus testing: govt - RTHK
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DNA won't be sent to mainland in virus testing: govt

2020-08-02 HKT 21:33
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  • The government said the tests to be conducted by mainland medical practitioners will be done locally, and nothing will be transported to the mainland. File photo: Xinhua
    The government said the tests to be conducted by mainland medical practitioners will be done locally, and nothing will be transported to the mainland. File photo: Xinhua
The government has dismissed as rumours that a mainland medical team is in Hong Kong to collect people's DNA.

Critics say they were concerned because one of the mainland firms behind the testing, BGI Group, was blacklisted by the US, which accused units linked to the firm of taking DNA from Uighurs in Xinjiang for surveillance purposes. BGI has denied the accusation.

In a statement, the Hong Kong government said that all the tests will be conducted in the SAR, and no samples will be sent to the mainland. And it said all of its anti-epidemic work complied with legal requirements.

The government also condemned those who spread rumours that people's DNA would be sent across the border, saying law enforcement would collect evidence to determine if that would be a crime.

The statement was released hours after the mainland team of seven medical experts, meant to help conduct nucleic acid Covid-19 tests here, arrived in Hong Kong.

A communicable disease expert from the Medical Association, Leung Chi-chiu, said he doesn't believe the team would be taking collecting people's DNA. He said it's highly expensive to take DNA from saliva samples.

Earlier on Sunday, Neo Democrat Roy Tam, among a group of district councillors, staged a protest against the mainland medical practitioners conducting tests here.

He said one of the reasons why they're against the idea was that Hong Kong people are concerned how the tests containing people's DNA will be handled, and if their privacy would be protected.