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Mandatory testing to be ramped up in Kowloon

2021-01-19 HKT 12:24
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  • Mandatory testing to be ramped up in Kowloon
The Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, on Tuesday announced that the government will step up coronavirus testing in Sham Shui Po, Yau Ma Tei and Jordan amid a rise in infections in the three areas.

Speaking before the weekly Executive Council meeting, Lam said officials will announce a designated area in Sham Shui Po, where residents will be ordered to get tested for Covid-19 as soon as one case has been found in their housing blocks.

She said the boost in testing is aimed at finding infected people quickly and stopping the transmission of the virus.

Authorities have been testing thousands of residents living in a designated area in Yau Ma Tei and Jordan under the same requirement.

Lam said the testing threshold in these areas will be lowered.

She said officials have identified dozens of buildings with poor environments and no management whatsoever.

Residents living in these buildings will be placed under a mandatory testing order even if no cases have been found there.

"We will request residents living in buildings within this 'core zone' to undergo mandatory coronavirus tests. We will not wait until the first cases emerge at these buildings," she said.

Addressing the recent rebound in Covid cases, the CE appealed to the public not to panic, saying figures will inevitably rise as more tests are carried out.

The number of new coronavirus cases in Hong Kong hit a one-month high on Monday, reaching 107.

Lam also said the government will extend the social distancing rules that were due to expire on Thursday, saying "there is no room to relax" them.

This means measures such as a ban on gatherings of more than two people in public will remain in place, and restaurants cannot provide dine-in services after 6pm.

However, the CE said there would be "new arrangements" regarding the scrapped Lunar New Year fairs.

She said the government has to take into consideration infection risks at other places selling flowers now the fairs have been cancelled.

She said officials will meet and discuss the matter with flower farmers before making an announcement.