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Govt to accept positive rapid test results as proof of Covid-19 infection

26 February 2022

By The SUN

It's goodbye to long queues for people under CTNs since they can now use the self-test kits

The government has canceled all compulsory testing notices and will instead allow people living in places at risk of a Covid-19 outbreak to use rapid antigen test (RAT) kits to check if they are infected.

Similarly, Covid-19 patients who are fully vaccinated, with mild or no symptoms and have tested positive using RAT may isolate at home. 

They may then use the self-test kits again on their sixth and seventh day in isolation, and if they test negative on those successive days, could start going out.

People in the same household identified as their close contacts could isolate with the patients and follow the same procedure.

RATs may also be used by people living or working in places where the sewage sample tests positive for the virus, or are in high-risk jobs such as staff in quarantine hotels or restaurants.


The use of RAT in mass scale is part of the risk-based approach announced by the government on Saturday, to streamline response to the exponential rise in Covid-19 cases.

At a press conference led by Health Secretary Sophia Chan earlier today, officials said RAT users should be able to upload their positive test results and other personal details on an online platform to be set up within the week.

Once their information is made accessible to health officials, they should be able to obtain proof of their medical record which they can use to return to their workplace, or for other purposes.

Pindutin para sa detalye

They should also be able to end their home isolation without having to get prior clearance from the Centre for Health Protection.

However, officials said community testing centers will remain open for people who prefer or need to have a positive result from an RT-PCR test, like those who need it for travel abroad.

Chan also said lockdowns or otherwise known as restriction testing declarations will continue to be carried out on buildings identified as high-risk. Swabs for a nucleic acid test will remain as the testing method during such operations. However, RAT kits will be distributed to residents afterwards so they can do their own follow-up tests.


Health officials said the decision to allow the mass use of RATs is due to findings of their high accuracy rate, plus the need to step up the detection and isolation of patients amid the spiraling increase in the daily infection tally.

The government said it has distributed 1.3 million RAT kits so far. Up to 100 million of the self-testing kits are expected to be distributed to all 7.4 million residents of Hong Kong, ahead of the start of the mandatory universal testing in the city.

Previously, people who tested positive in a RAT still needed to submit deep throat saliva samples for an RT PCR (Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) at a testing centre to confirm the results.

RATs are easy to use and have a high accuracy rate, say officials

Secretary Chan said that though RATs are not the best way to detect infections, they give very quick results and are easy to use.

They will also reduce the workload of government laboratories which have had to process 200,000 samples daily due to the ongoing fifth wave of the pandemic.

Press for details

Last Friday, the Centre for Health Protection cancelled compulsory testing notices which had been announced since Feb 21 in 84 places all over Hong Kong.

Instead of being made to provide swab samples for tests, the residents were given RAT kits so they could do the test themselves.

“Although testing resources have now been gradually enhanced, evidenced by more than 4.6 million tests conducted in February so far with an average of more than 200,000 persons tested daily over the past seven days, the demand for testing services keeps on growing due to the upsurge of epidemic,” the government said in a press statement.


“This has put immense pressure on the work in testing samples collected for nucleic acid tests, with a mass number of samples pending processing. Some citizens (including those who test positive using RAT earlier) may not be able to obtain results after having provided their samples for days, and thus feel anxious during the period. This is clearly not a desirable situation,” it added.

Following the decision to scale down the requirement for RT-PCR tests the following mobile specimen collection stations at the following locations were closed starting Saturday:

           Kennedy Town Playground

•           Southorn Playground

•           Quarry Bay Community Hall Carpark

•           Tsz Wan Shan Community Hall

•           Kai Tak Station Square Open Plaza

•           Yau Tong Road Playground

•           Cheung Sha Wan Sports Centre

•           Mini-Soccer Pitch, Kowloon Park

•           Tsuen King Circuit Sports Centre

•           Cheung Fat Estate Community Centre

•           Kwai Chung Sports Ground

•           Mei Lam Sports Centre, Tai Wai

•           Che Kung Temple Sports Centre

•           Tai Po Sports Centre

•           Luen Wo Hui Playground, Fanling

•           Tin Shui Sports Centre, Tin Shui Wai

The government press release on the new discharge criteria may be viewed here:


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