Rapid testing for diners 'impractical' - RTHK
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Rapid testing for diners 'impractical'

2022-05-10 HKT 10:57
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  • Rapid testing for diners 'impractical'
A restaurant operator on Tuesday said it'd be impractical to ask diners to show a negative rapid test result before they're allowed in.

The suggestion was put forward earlier by medical expert Joseph Tsang after a cluster of infections emerged from a Yuen Long restaurant. Twelve people, including nine diners, have so far come down with the disease.

Simon Wong, who runs the eatery chain LH Group and is president of the Institution of Dining Art, told an RTHK programme that restaurants have no way to check if the test was done on the day.

"Of course, it's only the view of one expert and the government has yet to make a response. I personally don't think the administration would consider it," Wong said.

"Millions of people have to go to work every day and they have to go out for lunch. If a rapid test is required, it's almost as if there's compulsory universal testing every single day. I don't think it's possible in reality."

Speaking on the same programme, infectious disease expert Ho Pak-leung also poured cold water to the idea, saying it's incompatible to Hong Kong's return to normality.

Ho, who heads the University of Hong Kong's Centre for Infection, said outbreaks at individual restaurants are bound to happen as there are still hundreds of Covid cases each day.

He also said it's unnecessary to ask Covid-hit restaurants to suspend business for a week, saying Hong Kong has moved past the stage in which anti-Covid drugs or vaccines were not available.

Ho said the government should instead continue to boost the city's vaccination rate and bring forward the third phase of the vaccine pass, which requires people to be triple-jabbed to enter certain venues.

In suggesting rapid tests be required of diners, Tsang said taking masks off in places like restaurants involves transmission risks, and asking people to get tested before they eat out can help prevent the virus from spreading.