Hong Kong will supply a free coronavirus take a look at to all 7.5 million residents subsequent month, the town’s chief mentioned Friday, but it surely was unclear what number of would participate within the scheme run by firms primarily based in mainland China.
Initially a poster little one of the pandemic, Hong Kong has seen a 3rd wave of virus circumstances — blamed on exemptions from quarantine guidelines for air and ship crews, and a few enterprise travellers.
Carrie Lam, the finance hub’s chief, introduced that voluntary mass-testing would begin on September 1 and go on for 2 weeks.
“There may be nonetheless fairly quite a lot of silent transmitters in the neighborhood,” she mentioned.
“So the more that we may take a look at… the sooner we may discover the remaining excellent circumstances,” she added, interesting to residents to participate.
Well being minister Sophia Chan had beforehand informed a radio present she hoped 5 million individuals would take part.
However Lam on Friday mentioned the federal government has set “no targets” for the scheme that shall be carried out by Hong Kong subsidiaries of three mainland companies, together with Chinese language genomics agency BGI Group.
Many Hong Kongers stay deeply suspicious of Beijing because it stamps down on political freedoms, together with imposing a sweeping new safety regulation on the town final month.
Biometric surveillance, together with DNA, kinds a core a part of the authoritarian mainland’s huge surveillance state.
Hong Kong opposition figures have expressed fears that virus testing by mainland officers may assist Beijing harvest Hong Kongers’ DNA.
The town’s authorities had dismissed these solutions as unfounded rumours.
Greater than 3,300 new COVID-19 infections have been detected in Hong Kong since July — greater than 70 p.c of the overall for the reason that illness first hit the town in late January.
The dying rely has risen to 75 from simply seven initially of July.
The variety of every day circumstances is now dwindling after distancing measures have been reimposed, however there are nonetheless a number of infections every day with no clear supply.
(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by workers and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)