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CE Lam says all HK residents will be tested 3x starting March

22 February 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap


CE Lam announces mandatory testing for all in a press conference

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has unveiled plans to introduce mandatory universal testing for all of Hong Kong’s 7.4 million starting next month as part of a multi-pronged approach to stop a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in the city.

Speaking at a press conference a few hours ago, CE Lam also announced the extension of stringent social distancing measures until Apr 20. These include limiting the number of people who can gather in public to two, and closing down many leisure and entertainment venues.

The anti-Covid restrictions will be tightened further with only two people being allowed to dine together in restaurants, even if they are vaccinated. Under current regulations, up to four vaccinated diners can sit together.


Also extended until Apr 20 is the flight ban on nine countries, imposed after a big number of travellers from these places tested positive on arrival in Hong Kong. Covered by the ban are Australia, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, United Kingdom and United States.

Another new measure involves moving forward the summer holiday for all schools except universities, to March and April this year, instead of the usual July to August period. The CE said their campuses will be used for the compulsory citywide testing.

The new summer holidays will now end around Apr 18, or the first day of Easter. The CE said the government hopes the DSE will start on Apr 22 as scheduled.


On mandatory universal testing, CE Lam said the government has the legal power to carry this out under Cap599J.

Under the scheme, all residents will be tested three times, with their testing dates to be based on their dates of birth. Appointments can be made beforehand to minimize queuing.

As with vaccinations, a person who books an appointment can bring along elderly family members or children.

Between each mandatory test, every person will have to test daily using rapid antigen testing kits which will be provided free by the government. Everybody will also get free KN95 face masks.


If you test positive, you should not quarantine at home, although at the moment there are not enough facilities to accommodate all patients. CE said government estimates that around 30,000 who have tested positive are waiting to enter hospital.

To respond to this need, she said the Mainland government will help build more facilities in Hong Kong.

Within this week, there will be 12,000 isolation units, including hotel rooms and entire flats in three public housing blocks.

Next month, 16,000 more isolation units will be made available, including more hotel rooms and from a facility being built at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal and the expansion of the Penny’s Bay isolation facility.

In addition, the government has identified an additional five pieces of land where an additional 20,000 isolation units can be built. The largest parcel is near Lok Ma Chau.

CE Lam says more isolation units will be built in Penny's Bay and Kai Tak (File photo)
CE said the government continues to explore more options with private developers and even universities. Various government departments are also being asked to find isolation facilities for their respective workers, like the Marine Department which has earmarked the China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui for this purpose.

To ensure the success of universal testing, a few hundred testing stations will be set up across Hong Kong. They are expected to boost the government’s testing capacity to one million a day.

CE Lam said that hopefully, the government will be able to catch all silent transmission chains within the community through this exercise.

She also thanked the Mainland Government for supporting Hong Kong in its effort to tackle the fifth wave of the pandemic.

In the past 10 days Hong Kong has increased its testing capacity with help from staff from the mainland. Much-needed supplies like KN95 masks and testing kits have also come from across the border.

In addition, mainland experts will help build new quarantine facilities in Penny’s Bay and Kai Tak .

Mainland officials have also ensured the continuous flow of fresh produce from across the border, either by land or by sea.

While the daily figures are worrying, she said health experts should focus more on the deaths. In the latest wave of the pandemic, 145 people have passed away, mostly elderly or those with pre-existing conditions, but they also included three young kids.

She urged all people in Hong Kong to help fight the current wave by (1) following social distancing measures; (2) avoid going out – do not attend masses and family gatherings,  (3) comply with compulsory testing notices promptly; (4) if you have a foreign domestic helper, discuss their rest day with them so they can avoid gathering; (5) if you feel unwell, get a rapid test done; (6) do not worry too much, and chat with family members to find out how they are doing.

The CE said the government will spare no expenses in ensuring the health of its citizens.

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