Officials have set up checkpoints at a virus-hit block on a Sha Tin housing estate, ordering residents to show proof that they've complied with a mandatory testing notice or immediately take a test.
Queues formed on Thursday morning as residents of Ming Yan House in the Jat Min Estate suddenly found themselves forced to show SMS notification or other certification of a test before they were allowed to go to work.
Police officers and officials from the Sha Tin District Office, the Auxiliary Medical Service and the Housing Society moved in at 6am. Home Affairs Secretary Caspar Tsui, who was on site before 6am, said residents were not given advance notice because there were concerns some would try to flee. He said about 400 people were checked in the first two and a half hours.
Government and Housing Society officials will also go door to door in the block to ask for proof of testing. People have to show the SMS notification on their mobile phone or other certification of a test between December 17 and 21.
"Taking into account the fact that since the government requires testing through compulsory testing notices, members of the public have generally been compliant, the government will first issue verbal warnings in the enforcement operation today, and will allow the residents to undergo immediate testing in the mobile testing station near Ming Yan Lau," a spokesman said.
"Before the testing results are available, residents must stay at home to reduce the risk of community infection."
One resident, who claimed to have already taken a test, told RTHK he had never received an official notification about the result and has been ordered by authorities to take another test.
“It’s previously been said that if we didn’t receive a notification after four to five days it means the result was negative. But now they’re demanding to see some sort of confirmation. It’s really confusing”, said he said.
Officials have the power to issue people who ignore a mandatory testing order with a fine of HK$5,000 and a compulsory testing order. Failure to comply with the order could result in a fine of up to HK$25,000 and a six-month jail term.
Officials ordered the evacuation of the 32nd floor at Ming Yan House on December 16 after cases were found in four separate flats. They also ordered anyone who had spent at least two hours in the building between December 1 and 16 to take a test.
The Centre for Health Protection shows five cases in the building in the past two weeks.
Compulsory testing orders have been issued for about half a dozen public housing blocks as well as numerous other venues, including dance clubs linked to the city's biggest cluster of coronavirus cases.