Visitors and staff at Hong Kong’s public hospitals and elderly care homes will no longer need to present a negative result from a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test from Wednesday, the government has announced.

Covid-19 Mask Hospital Ambulance A&E Department
A public hospital. File photo: GovHK.

In a statement released on Monday afternoon, a spokesperson from the Hospital Authority said visitors will only be required to obtain a negative rapid antigen test result within 24 hours of their visit.

Additionally, the Hospital Authority said that public hospitals would make adjustments to their visiting hours, and some wards would be open to visitors for more than two hours a day, the limit set during the pandemic.

The statement also said while there would be no restrictions on the number of visitors, only two people per patient would be allowed to enter a ward at the same time.

“Patients and visitors should continue to comply with prevailing infection control measures, including wearing surgical masks when patients are not drinking or eating, wearing surgical masks at all time for visitors and paying attention to hand hygiene, so as to minimise the risk of spreading virus,” the spokesperson added.

The Health Bureau also announced in a Monday statement that the PCR test requirement for public hospital staff as well as staff and visitors of care homes would also be scrapped from Wednesday, replaced with daily rapid tests.

End of free nucleic acid testing

The Health Bureau added that the city’s 21 community testing centres would stop providing free PCR testing services from Wednesday.

Covid test
A Covid-19 testing booth. File photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

The health authority said the centres were being closed because of the changes to public hospital entry requirements.

Meanwhile, the statement said the existing testing centres would remain and continue to provide paid services to the public.

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Peter Lee

Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.