Over 1.1 million people have signed up for the Covid-19 voluntary testing program, the government announced on Sunday. Since the scheme began last Tuesday, over a million people have been tested.
Five of the city’s 21 new infections reported on Sunday were found through the community testing programme. As of Sunday evening, 675,000 of the Covid-19 tests collected have been processed.
Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip said on Sunday that the government has not set targets for the number of participants in the testing scheme: “I do not think it is realistic for us to do so. But… the programme would enable us to have some sort of reference value to understand the infection situation in the community and the number of asymptomatic cases in the community.
Nip added that the programme will provide “useful data and information for us to control the epidemic” and “paves the way for normalising our activities and economic activities in the future.”
He said that he hopes more people will sign up for the free testing: “This programme is voluntary. With these parameters, of course, we want as many as possible Hong Kong citizens to come forward to receive the test.”
Three batches of support personnel from mainland China have been manning 141 temporary testing facilities throughout the city. However, mainland involvement in the scheme has prompted suspicion from some pro-democracy activists concerned about the use of collected personal data.
Some medical experts and pro-democracy activists have called for a boycott of the programme, despite government assurances that all data collected will be destroyed.
The government announced on Friday that the testing program will be extended until September 11.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Health Protection reported a total of 28 new infections over the weekend, increasing the city’s total to 4,879. The city also saw three more coronavirus-related deaths, raising the city’s death toll to 96.