The Hospital Authority (HA) on Wednesday apologised for a technical mixup which sent false negative results via SMS to individuals who had actually tested positive for the coronavirus.

The bungle was linked to an error in the SMS delivery system which swapped the personal details of participants, according to a government statement. The gaffe led to individuals being sent other people’s test results. The SMS delivery process is run by a government contractor.

Photo: Piqsels.

The discrepancy has affected 2,972 participants since July and resulted in six individuals being notified of negative test results when they had in fact tested positive.

The six patients have since been contacted and have been placed under isolation treatment, according to the statement. The HA added that none of the six had “unduly stayed in the community.”

The department expressed “immense concern” over the incident and has requested the contractor to review its systems to avoid future similar incidents.

Stricter rules for dancing venues

The Leisure & Culture Services Department (LCSD) has announced tighter restrictions on gyms and dance halls, requiring individuals to wear masks when utilising fitness facilities as of Thursday. Meanwhile, all dancing activities will be prohibited at its venues from Saturday.

Photo: GovHK.

All bars, clubs, nightclubs, bathhouses and party rooms are also to close at midnight Thursday for at least seven days.

The stricter measures come as the city faces its fourth wave of coronavirus infections largely connected to a cluster linked to a dancing club.

Hong Kong reported 81 new infections on Thursday, the second day of over 80 daily cases this week. The city has reported a total of 5,948 infections since the start of the outbreak, with 108 deaths.

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Rhoda Kwan

Rhoda Kwan is HKFP's Assistant Editor. She has previously written for TimeOut Hong Kong and worked at Meanjin, a literary journal. She holds a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Literature from the University of Hong Kong.