Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip today said the Government will focus on target group testing or conduct rapid and large-scale testing when there are future COVID-19 outbreaks.
Mr Nip made the statement in response to reporters’ queries on whether the Universal Community Testing Programme will be rolled out again when there is a new wave of epidemic.
“This is a one-off universal community testing programme to help us understand the infection situation in the community and also to identify and isolate those infected, especially those asymptomatic cases, so as to help us end the current epidemic.
“In future, with the enhanced and increased testing capacity, I am sure that we will focus on target group testing or do rapid and large-scale testing when there are cluster outbreaks. That would be the strategy and approach.”
He added that the Department of Health and the Hospital Authority will continue to carry out epidemiological testing.
“Actually, since the beginning of this epidemic, more than one million tests had been conducted by the Hospital Authority and the Department of Health.”
Mr Nip said the Government will report on the cost of the programme after it is finished.
“The Central People’s Government provides us with the setting up of the lab, and the personnel that do the testing. That cost would be borne by the Central People’s Government.
“The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government basically would be responsible for the cost incurred in the setting up of the community testing centres, the honorarium paid to the healthcare staff and also the administrative support staff, the cost incurred in logistics, in supplies, in security, in cleansing and all that.”