Govt can handle the mass self-test exercise: CE

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Wednesday that the government can handle it even if a large number of Covid-19 cases are found in the upcoming territory-wide self-test exercise, adding that people who test positive will be allowed to isolate at home as long as their living environment is considered suitable.

All residents are encouraged to test themselves for three consecutive days from Friday as the government seeks to better gauge the SAR’s Covid situation.

Speaking at her daily Covid briefing, the CE said there are 20,000 beds available at six isolation facilities, while some isolation hotels and a new public housing block could also be used to isolate people whose rapid test results come back positive.

She said that an online platform for people to notify the government of their positive results could process 60,000 cases per hour and issue isolation orders to the infected.

Lam added that authorities had the ability to quickly deliver food and other daily necessities to people who are allowed to self-isolate at home.

“You need not worry about our capacity. We have the capacity and that’s why we’re proceeding with this very meaningful and useful exercise,” she said.

On the prerequisites for the infected to be allowed to self-isolate at home, the Controller of the Centre for Health Protection, Edwin Tsui, said it would be best if they can stay in a separate room and use a separate washroom to prevent transmitting the virus to their family members.

He added that it is inappropriate for infected people to isolate themselves at home if their family members are at greater risk from Covid, including small children, people aged over 70 and those with weak immune systems.

Meanwhile, Lam noted that both the number of people taking public transport as well as the reproduction number for Covid-19 had increased recently.

She reminded citizens not to let their guard down despite the fact that the daily infection toll had dropped significantly from its peak.