The government was considering universal Covid-19 screening to combat the explosive fifth wave, Hong Kong’s leader acknowledged on Thursday, marking a U-turn in the city’s stance a day after details of an internal discussion about the proposal were leaked to the public.
Sources described the measure as a last resort to cut off transmission chains in the event other steps such as tighter social-distancing measures failed to flatten the infection curve, although one medical expert warned the testing would be “pointless” without also locking down the city at the same time.
Another insider revealed that officials were weighing whether to send the collected specimens over the border for processing samples for the sake of efficiency, a move that could fuel privacy concerns.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said details of the proposed universal testing were still being ironed out.
“We are considering conducting a citywide universal test when we have this capacity,” Lam said, after receiving a group of experts from mainland China at Shenzhen Bay border point.
📷: Jelly Tse / SCMP
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