Govt rejects barbs over mainland health expert team - RTHK
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Govt rejects barbs over mainland health expert team

2020-08-06 HKT 11:04
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  • The government says help of the mainland experts was needed as local technicians do not have adequate training or experience with Covid testing. File photo: RTHK
    The government says help of the mainland experts was needed as local technicians do not have adequate training or experience with Covid testing. File photo: RTHK
The government on Thursday defended bringing in mainland teams to help private local firms ramp up coronavirus testing in Hong Kong, saying there was an urgent need to roll out large-scale testing as soon as possible to safeguard public health.

Since announcing that mainland experts would be brought in, some critics had raised concerns over the experts' professional qualifications, capability of the selected labs and whether people's DNA would be sent across the border.

In a lengthy response overnight, the government defended bringing in mainland help and not holding a public tender for such services, saying there was an urgent need for large-scale testing.

It said all laboratories and staff involved, including personnel from the mainland, must abide by local legislation and statutory requirements.

The government also gave its assurances that any personal data collected would not be sent outside Hong Kong.

It also said it was inappropriate to reveal the fees paid to the service providers as it was still procuring more help.

The government also revealed that as of Tuesday, a total of 215 people involved in Covid testing had been exempted from quarantine, which included personnel of the testing companies.

It said the seven advance members of the mainland testing team who arrived last Sunday had all tested negative, 72 hours earlier.