The Government announced today (February 21) that in order to fight the coronavirus epidemic, the Environmental Protection Department and the Drainage Services Department in collaboration with the cross-disciplinary team of the University of Hong Kong had strengthened the sampling of sewage for virus testing in all districts, and had detected positive results in many areas, indicating that there may be hidden cases in the premises within these areas.
As regards positive sewage testing results in Islands, Kwai Tsing, Kwun Tong, Sham Shui Po, Sha Tin, Wong Tai Sin and Yuen Long Districts, the Home Affairs Department (including Islands, Kwai Tsing, Sham Shui Po and Sha Tin District Offices) will distribute COVID-19 rapid test kits to residents and all cleansing workers and property management staff working in the following areas (see Annex) starting from tomorrow (February 22) for them to take the test on their own, in order to help identifying infected persons –
- Sewage Testing Area Tung Chung Yat Tung (I) Estate Site 22 (YTE-22) – Ying Yat House of Yat Tung (I) Estate
- Sewage Testing Area Kwai Chung Site 2 (Part) – The Apex
- Sewage Testing Area Sham Shui Po Site 3-3 (Part) – Hoi Lai Estate
- Sewage Testing Area Shatin Site 7A (Part)- Yan On Estate
- Sewage Testing Area Shatin Site 11A (Part) – Golden Beauty Court of Golden Lion Garden Stage I
- Sewage Testing Area Tsing Yi Site 1 (Part) – Villa Esplanada
In addition, the Home Affairs Department (including Kwun Tong, Sha Tin, Wong Tai Sin and Yuen Long District Offices) will distribute COVID-19 rapid test kits to all cleansing workers and property management staff working in the following areas (see Annex) starting from tomorrow (February 22) for them to take the test on their own, in order to help identifying infected persons. The Government appeals to residents and those working in these areas who have been exposed to infection risks to undergo testing on a voluntary basis to achieve "early identification, early isolation and early treatment".
- Sewage Testing Area Kwun Tong Site 2-1 (Part) – Shun Tin Estate
- Sewage Testing Area Shatin Site 11A (Part) – Sun Chui Estate
- Sewage Testing Area Wong Tai Sin Site 2 (Part) – Upper Wong Tai Sin Estate and Tsui Chuk Garden
- Sewage Testing Area Yuen Long Site 1 (Part) – Tin Heng Estate and Tin Yuet Estate
Members of the public may refer to (www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzFAUzTtmKk) for enquiries relating to the use of the rapid test kits.
When using a rapid test kit, please pay attention to and follow the instructions from the manufacturer to perform the test and read the result properly. It is advisable to record the displayed result by taking a photo immediately after reading. Users should wash their hands before and after performing the tests, and avoid placing non-essential items within the specimen collection area. After completing the test, wrap and seal all components of the test kit carefully and dispose properly. If the household environment is contaminated during the specimen collecting process, disinfection should be conducted with 1 in 49 diluted bleach solution or 70 per cent alcohol.
Since rapid antigen testing can only serve as a reference, it cannot replace the nucleic acid testing that is at present the gold standard for diagnosis of COVID-19. When positive result is obtained in a rapid test, one should further undergo nucleic acid testing for confirmation. For the sake of prudence, they should take personal protective measures, stay home and avoid going out as far as practicable. They should request relatives or friends to obtain through existing channels and deliver to them deep throat saliva specimen collection packs.
If people living or working in the areas with positive sewage testing results are tested positive with the rapid test kits, they may also call 2280 4772, the Government's 24-hour hotline for "persons tested positive with rapid antigen tests in areas with positive sewage testing results", to arrange for door-to-door delivery of nasal swab self-sampling kits and collection of the specimen for PCR confirmatory testing free of charge. If the result is still positive, the Department of Health and the Hospital Authority will treat the case as tested positive/preliminarily positive under the mechanism. Should these persons begin to develop symptoms before results are available, they may consult their family doctors for advice according to their needs. When severe symptoms (e.g. prolonged fever at 38 degrees Celsius or above, or signs such as shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain) are developed, members of the public are urged to call the 999 hotline for arranging ambulance transfer to hospital as early as possible.
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