'Hard to estimate how many will take free test' - RTHK
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'Hard to estimate how many will take free test'

2020-08-22 HKT 10:41
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  • Sophia Chan says the government will do its utmost to promote the free Covid tests. File photo: RTHK
    Sophia Chan says the government will do its utmost to promote the free Covid tests. File photo: RTHK
Food and health secretary Sophia Chan on Saturday said it's hard to estimate how many people will take part in the government's mass Covid-19 testing scheme that's due to start September 1.

She told two radio programmes she knows people have their doubts about the programme, and are less worried about getting infected as the pandemic eases, but they will do more promotion and be transparent.

Chan added that they're planning to set up at least a hundred stations to collect samples, and a few thousand medical workers have signed up to work at them.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Friday urged people to make use of the free coronavirus test being offered by the government as she confirmed the exercise will start from September 1.

Covid-19 testing centres will be set up across all districts in Hong Kong and open from 8 am to 8 pm. People will have to make appointments online and register their names, identity card and mobile phone numbers.

Qualified medical workers will take both nasal and throat swabs from the participants.

Those who test negative for the virus will receive an SMS message notifying them of the result, while people who test positive will be contacted by staff from the Department of Health for follow up treatment and isolation.

Asked about the possible easing of social distancing measures, Chan said authorities need to see a stable, downward infection trend before relaxing social distancing measures.

She added that restaurants will need to cooperate too, and the government is happy to discuss with the sector about supporting them in their efforts to improve ventilation.

When asked if the authorities will make it mandatory that different waiters serve and take back dishes, as some experts have suggested, the official said she needs to talk with the sector first.