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Mainland team ‘to aid Hong Kong ramp up tests to 200,000’

The leader of the team of mainland China medical experts, who are in Hong Kong says he hopes they can help test more than 200,000 people a day.

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PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

The leader of the team of mainland China medical experts, who are in Hong Kong to help tackle the coronavirus situation here, says he hopes they can help expand the city’s testing capability to more than 200,000 people a day.

Yu Wende said his mission is to help Hong Kong get into a position where it can conduct extensive testing for COVID-19 from its 10,000 a day capacity.

In an interview with Xinhua News Agency, Yu said his team is going to meet representatives of the liaison office, the Food and Health Bureau and the Hospital Authority; and get a better understanding of the daily operations of three mainland-based private laboratories in Hong Kong, before deciding what to do next.

He conceded there’ll be a few challenges to overcome, such as differences in the mainland and Hong Kong legal systems, but said his team is professional and he’s confident they’ll complete their mission.

Some reports have said Beijing wants the team to test every single person in Hong Kong for the virus.

Commenting on such reports, University of Hong Kong microbiologist Dr Ho Pak-leung said he isn’t sure city-wide COVID-19 tests are the way to go. He said it’s much more important to focus resources on contact tracing and conducting tests on close contacts of confirmed coronavirus patients.

Ho also noted that Wuhan – where the virus first erupted – did not do city-wide testing during the outbreak in January, but did a mass test after the epidemic stabilised in May.

Respiratory medicine expert David Hui from the Chinese University echoed Ho’s comments, saying it would be “extremely difficult” to conduct mandatory tests on every single Hongkonger.

He said the move would require a city-wide lockdown where nobody is allowed to leave their homes, and enormous manpower would be required to pick up the samples within a week.

Hui said it would be much more practical to carry out tests on high-risk groups, such as those working in the retail or customer services sectors.

(Xinhua News Agency/Macau News)
PHOTO © Xinhua News Agency

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