All Hong Kongers must undergo three rounds of compulsory coronavirus tests: Carrie Lam

WION Web Team
Hong Kong, China Updated: Feb 22, 2022, 06:26 PM(IST)

The 64-year-old had dodged questions for months over her future and during Monday's announcement she revealed that she had informed Beijing of her plans to quit more than a year ago.   Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The densely populated metropolis is in the throes of a record virus surge with thousands of confirmed cases every day threatening to overwhelm hospitals and the city's strict isolation system

Chief executive Carrie Lam has said that all Hong Kongers must undergo three rounds of compulsory coronavirus testing.

"The coming one to three months are crucial in fighting the pandemic," Lam told a press briefing.

The densely populated metropolis is in the throes of a record virus surge with thousands of confirmed cases every day threatening to overwhelm hospitals and the city's strict isolation system.

Lam reiterated the city's "dynamic zero COVID" strategy similar to mainland China, aiming to eradicate any outbreaks at all costs. She repeatedly thanked mainland authorities for their "staunch support."

“Since we have a population of some 7 million people, testing will take about seven days,” she said.

The tests will be spread out over a number of days with residents also having to take multiple rapid antigen tests every day at home in between.

Lam said a flight ban from nine countries including the United States and Britain would remain in place until April 20 with other countries potentially being added to the list.

Also read | Amid a surge in cases, Hong Kong to ramp up isolation facilities

Schools and multiple businesses such as gyms, bars and beauty salons will remain closed into late April with education facilities turned into local testing centres.

Lam said the city's vaccination rate should reach around 90 per cent for one dose by March, up from around 86 per cent currently.

"Stay confident and we will see the rainbow," Lam said.

Hong Kong has reported about 5,000 new daily infections since February 15, with the cases threatening to overwhelm its healthcare system. Since the current surge began at the beginning of the year, the city has recorded nearly 54,000 cases and 145 deaths.

The order for citywide testing comes after mainland Chinese authorities dispatched epidemiologists, health workers and other medical resources last week to help contain the outbreak in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

(With inputs from agencies)

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