Health authorities said on Wednesday that free rapid Covid-19 antigen tests will be provided to people aged 60 or above from next week, to encourage them to self-test regularly.
At a press conference, undersecretary for health Chui Tak-yi said starting next Tuesday, 680 places – including district health centres, elderly social centres and elderly day care centres – will hand out free kits to their members or service recipients.
Each person is entitled to five sets of test kits each time, and staff members can exercise discretion and give out the kits to non-members, Chui said.
He said this would hopefully help detect infections earlier.
"Elderly people belongs to high-risk groups... Currently we have effective antiviral medications, when given in the early stage of the illness, on symptoms onset, it will reduce the risk of [the illness] getting more severe, or even death," he said.
"With this effective treatment measure, early diagnosis is important for the elderly. So I think it's important to provide more accessibility to this age group."
He said the arrangement will run till May 31.
The plan was announced as Hong Kong reported 1,272 new Covid infections for the day, a slight drop from the day before.
Among the new cases, 734 were found through PCR tests and the rest were detected via rapid tests.
Twelve of the new infections were imported from places including Shanghai, Nepal and Germany.
Meanwhile, another 62 patients with Covid had died, including 54 who passed away in the past day.
The fatalities in the Omicron outbreak now stands at 8,735.
Meanwhile, Cathay Pacific and All Nippon Airways have been banned for operating flights from London and Tokyo respectively for one week after their flights in recent days were found to be carrying passengers who tested positive for Covid upon arrival.
General Covid-19 situation: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/
Covid-19 testing: https://www.communitytest.gov.hk/en/
Community testing notice: https://bit.ly/3ivX2Ce
Community Clinics for Covid-19 patients: https://bit.ly/3q3tz6G
RAT reporting platform: https://www.chp.gov.hk/ratp/
Vaccination programme: https://www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/sen/
Vaccination pass scheme: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/vaccine-pass.html
Hotline for Covid-positive patients: 1836 115