(To watch the whole media briefing with sign language interpretation, click here.)

 

The Universal Community Testing Programme will help the Government consider measures to return Hong Kong’s economy to normal as soon as possible, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said today.

 

Mrs Lam made the remarks ahead of the Executive Council meeting this morning.

 

She said: “The purpose of launching the Universal Community Testing Programme is to identify as early as possible any silent transmitters in society so that we will feel safer to consider the next stage of social distancing measures with a view that Hong Kong’s economy and people’s livelihood could resume normal as soon as possible.”

 

Mrs Lam pointed out the Government is allowing up to two weeks to invite people to come forward for testing.

 

The programme, which starts on September 1, will run for seven days. Subject to the actual progress, it may be extended for no more than seven days.

 

Those who plan to take part in the testing programme can make online appointments, she said.

  

“We are going to do an online booking system. Preferably we will not be seeing crowds or long queues in front of the swabbing stations to have the tests done.

 

“I really think it’s inappropriate or just unreasonable to try to compare the Legislative Council election to the universal community testing.”

 

The Chief Executive also called on health experts who are critical of the testing scheme to express their views in a more responsible manner, noting that the Government’s initiative is for the sake of public health.

 

“The testing is globally accepted as a good means to identify early confirmed cases so that they can be isolated for treatment.

 

“And this testing capacity is not taking away from the testing capacity for the other higher priority areas – one is the clinical testing and medical surveillance testing undertaken by the Hospital Authority and the Department of Health, and second is the target group testing conducted by various departments.

 

“So, I will make a strong plea that well-known people, especially in the relevant professional areas, should really express their views in a more responsible way. Since this is about public health, let’s focus on public health.”