Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) has identified one suspected case of someone providing false information to the government’s reporting platform for people who test positive for Covid-19 using a self testing kit. The case has been referred to the police for further investigation.

Covid-19 self-test kit
Covid-19 rapid antigen test kits. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The alleged false report was uncovered during random checks. The CHP asked 11,992 citizens who registered themselves as positive for Covid-19 using rapid antigen tests (RATs) to undergo a confirmation nucleic acid test.

Police are following up “with a view to considering taking appropriate law enforcement actions.” Under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance, anyone who “contravenes or knowingly gives false information” to the Department of Health could risk a HK$10,000 fine and six months of imprisonment.

Among those who underwent confirmation tests, 170 people were sent to the government’s Penny’s Bay quarantine facility “for further observation and testing” after receiving negative results from the nucleic acid tests, the Food and Heath Bureau said in a statement published on Thursday evening.

The statement urged citizens to submit accurate information in a timely manner. It also said that the information submitted served as “a formal record of one’s infection and recovery in facilitation of other relevant purposes,” such as vaccination and sick leave arrangements.

“In order to facilitate the CHP to grasp the epidemic situation more accurately as well as to provide more appropriate and timely support for patients with higher risks, it is of paramount importance that individuals truthfully report positive cases via the Declaration System without delay,” a spokesperson said in the statement.

The declaration system for people who test positive using RATs was launched on March 7, after the government announced that it would count RAT results as confirmed cases. At the time, city’s laboratories were under “immense pressure”  to confirm results amid a growing fifth wave of infections.

Penny's Bay Covid-19 quarantine centre on Lantau
Penny’s Bay Covid-19 quarantine centre on Lantau. File photo: GovHK.

Those who submit their information using the online portal will receive an SMS with a link through which they can upload a copy of their Hong Kong identity card and a picture of their rapid test cassette showing a positive result.

Hong Kong has recorded 1,101,224 Covid-19 infections, of which 390,340 cases were found using RATs. The city has also seen 6,770 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic over two years ago.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.