The new measure, announced earlier this month, aims to contain the city’s fourth wave of infections by reducing silent transmission in the community.
All Hongkongers with Covid
-19 symptoms must take a coronavirus
test within three days of being issued with a written instruction from their family doctor or face hefty fines and a mandatory order, the health authorities warned on Friday.
The new measure, announced earlier this month, aims to contain the city’s fourth wave of infections by reducing silent transmission in the community. The number of daily cases surged to a three-month high of 92 on Friday.
Over the 14-day period from Saturday to December 11, private doctors who suspect their patients have contracted Covid
-19 can issue written instructions requiring them to undergo a throat sample test. If the patients receive the instruction on Monday, for example, they are required to take the test by Wednesday.
Patients can get tested in two ways.
They can either use a sample bottle provided by the doctor to collect deep throat saliva, and return it to any of 13 clinics under the Department of Health or 47 designated general clinics under the Hospital Authority.
They can also arrange for private laboratories approved by the Department of Health to do the test.
The patient must submit the result to their doctor within four days of getting it.
Those who refuse to get tested will be handed a HK$2,000 (US$258) fine and a mandatory test order. Repeated offences may also result in a HK$25,000 (US$3,200) fine and six months’ jail.
Although the measure was announced weeks ago, the details were only released on Friday after tough negotiations between health officials and private doctors.
The doctors were concerned issuing test orders would undermine their relationships with patients.