The Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Friday that the government will introduce a universal, voluntary coronavirus testing scheme that could cover millions of Hong Kong people.
Lam said the tests, conducted with the support of the central government, can start in two weeks' time.
The Chief Executive said it’s time to further increase the number of corornavirus tests as she warns there could be 1,500 silent carriers of the coronavirus in Hong Kong.
From mid-July, authorities had tested 130,000 people from high-risk groups such as minibus and taxi drivers, as well as those who work in the markets, elderly care homes and restaurants, she said. One out of 2,500 of them tested positive for the virus.
Lam said although in the past few days there were fewer than 100 cases on each day, the situation remains critical.
She said after recording 1,206 cases in the first half of this year, over the last five weeks it has jumped to 3,850 while the number of deaths rose to 46.
She said people from all walks of life have been affected and around 20 clusters identified, including places like elderly homes, wet markets and groups of taxi drivers.
The CE said the central government attaches great importance to the situation in Hong Kong and pledges to offer all necessary support at anytime.
She said she wants to clarify the plan early as there are a lot of rumours and smearing concerning the mainland. She urged the public not to be affected by the misleading remarks.
Lam criticised those who attempted to damage the relationship between the mainland and Hong Kong using conspiracy theories.
The government also dismissed privacy concerns, saying testing staff would not know the identities of those who provided the samples.