The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today held a farewell ceremony for the Mainland nucleic acid test support team upon the successful conclusion of the 14-day Universal Community Testing Programme (UCTP) yesterday.

 

It expressed heartfelt gratitude to relevant central ministries, the governments of Guangdong Province, Fujian Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, as well as all support team members for their full support to Hong Kong.

 

A total of about 1,783,000 people participated in the UCTP for COVID-19 testing.

 

The Hong Kong SAR Government said the programme’s timely and smooth operation hinged on the full support of the central government by establishing quickly a nucleic acid test support team involving 570 members to greatly enhance Hong Kong’s testing capability.

 

Through the farewell ceremony, the Hong Kong SAR Government thanked every member of the support team for their dedication and commitment, working zealously days and nights and enabling the smooth launch of the large-scale programme to provide voluntary virus testing for all citizens.

 

It also expressed sincere gratitude to some 6,000 healthcare personnel and students who were responsible for collecting specimens, some 4,000 serving and retired civil servants undertaking administrative support duty, as well as the personnel who took up security and logistical work, for their professionalism and dedication in providing high quality and efficient services to the public.

 

With full support of all working staff, the programme helped identify asymptomatic COVID-19 patients in the community at an early stage for treatment, thereby stopping further infections, the Hong Kong SAR Government reiterated.

 

Speaking at the farewell ceremony, Chief Executive Carrie Lam noted that the programme helped cut the virus transmission chain in the community and provided a more reassuring basis for the Government to gradually relax social distancing measures so as to allow early resumption of social and economic activities.

 

She said: “It is a challenging yet honourable mission to complete nearly 1.8 million nucleic acid tests in a short period of time. It fully reflects the effort made by every staff member who worked in the Huo-Yan Laboratory, as well as the care and concern of the central government and people in the Mainland for the people of Hong Kong.

 

“On behalf of the Hong Kong SAR, I would like to express heartfelt thanks to the central government and every one of the support team.”

 

The Hong Kong SAR Government pointed out that according to the World Health Organization and health experts, COVID-19 would not be eradicated without effective treatment and vaccination. The virus will co-exist for quite a long period of time and even become seasonally endemic.

 

It added that the Government is required to incorporate work in relation to disease prevention and control as well as infection management, and would continue to extend and conduct repeated testing for target groups or vulnerable groups.