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To identify COVID-19 patients who have no symptoms and improve the local COVID-19 situation, the Hong Kong government announced on August 21 that a free COVID-19 mass testing program starts on September 1. In this guide, we give you all the details you need to know about it.
Why doing mass testing?
Following the third wave of COVID-19 in Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam and various specialists believe that mass testing is necessary in order to cut the community transmission chain as soon as possible. While some other specialists regard this decision as inefficient because people can move around freely after testing, Carrie Lam emphasised that voluntary testing can provide a basis for relaxing social distancing measures.
How long is the program?
Starting on September 1, the free COVID-19 mass testing program was originally planned to run for 1 week. Recently, the government announced that it is extended until September 11.
Am I eligible to participate?
Anyone holding a valid Hong Kong identity card or birth certificate and having no symptoms can get tested for free voluntarily. However, people who fit into one of the categories below are not suitable for the program:
– Children under 6 years old.
– People with illnesses that involve areas from the nasal area to the throat (because specimens will be collected through the nose and the throat).
How can I register to get tested for free?
If you are eligible, you need to make an appointment online through the official website. You are required to provide information of your name, identity card number and phone number, and to choose a preferred location, time and date for your testing.
Where can I get tested?
You can choose to go to your nearest community testing centre, which will be set up in all 18 districts of Hong Kong. Inside the centre, you will need to follow appropriate infection control and safety measures recommended by the Department of Health.
What can I expect on the day of testing?
Remember to bring along your Hong Kong ID card and present the booking confirmation SMS message, which will be sent to your phone when you successfully register online. Similar to the measures imposed when entering some indoor areas in Hong Kong, temperature checking, mask wearing, and social distancing will be required when going into the testing centres. You will be sent to a registration counter and then a waiting area. Qualified and trained medical staff will collect your combined nasal and throat swabs, which will be transported for laboratory testing.
How will I get the test results?
If you test negative, you will receive a text message on your phone. If you test positive, you will be informed by the Department of Health immediately and sent to specific facilities or hospitals for isolation and treatment.
What are my other options for COVID-19 testing in Hong Kong?
If you cannot or prefer not to join the universal, free testing program but wish to get a COVID-19 test for yourself or your family, there are several other options in Hong Kong. These include:
– Public Hospitals at a cost of $180 for a doctor consultation. The doctor will determine your eligibility for a test (depending on your symptoms, travel history and any close contact with people who tested positive for COVID-19). If you are eligible, the test is free of charge.
– Private Hospitals at a cost ranging from roughly $1,280 to $2,500.
– Private Clinics at a cost ranging from around $300 to $2,100.
For more details, read our complete guide to COVID-19 testing in Hong Kong.
*Last updated on August 31, 2020. All amounts are in HKD. No responsibility is accepted for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions. It is always best to call ahead to make sure the information is still up-to-date.
We hope this guide helped you better understand your COVID-19 testing options in Hong Kong. Stay healthy!