Government gazettes compulsory testing notice

     The Government exercises the power under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation (Cap. 599J) and publishes in the Gazette a compulsory testing notice, which requires any person who had been present at four specified premises during the specified period (persons subject to compulsory testing) to undergo a COVID-19 nucleic acid test.

    In view of one imported case who had stayed in Hong Kong during the incubation period, one specified premises is included in the compulsory testing notice. The Government strongly reminds members of the public to strictly follow the compulsory testing requirements and undergo the multiple tests on time as required. The above compulsory testing requirement applies to those who have completed a COVID-19 vaccination course as well. They are advised to closely monitor their health conditions. They should seek medical attention and undergo testing even if they have only mild symptoms.

     Furthermore, since there was an outbreak of upper respiratory tract infection and/or influenza-like illness in three schools, and the symptoms of the diseases concerned are similar to those of COVID-19, for prudence's sake, the relevant schools are covered in the compulsory testing notice. Persons who have completed a COVID-19 vaccination course would be taken to have complied with the requirements set out in the compulsory testing notice.

     Persons subject to compulsory testing in accordance with a compulsory testing notice must go to any of the mobile specimen collection stations, community testing centres (CTCs) or recognised local medical testing institutions to undergo professional swab sampling in fulfilling the requirements for compulsory testing. Young children may continue to undergo the test using a stool specimen.

     If Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 3 or above, the Red or Black Rainstorm Warning Signal or the post-super typhoon "extreme conditions" announcement by the Government is in force at any time during the period for undergoing the compulsory testing, the period for undergoing the compulsory testing will be further extended for one day.

     The Comirnaty and CoronaVac vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe cases and deaths from COVID-19. They can provide protection to those vaccinated to prevent serious complications and even death after infection. The Government appeals to persons who are not yet vaccinated, especially senior citizens, chronic patients and other immunocompromised persons who face a higher chance of death after COVID-19 infection, to get vaccinated as soon as possible for better self-protection before the fifth wave strikes in Hong Kong.

     Details of the compulsory testing notice are in Annex 1.

     Subsequent to the announcement by the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) on the updated quarantine arrangements of local COVID-19 cases with a mutant strain, persons who resided or worked within the same building as the residence of relevant cases will be subject to compulsory testing on specified dates in accordance with the announcement by the Department of Health (DH). They will also be required to undergo self-monitoring until the 21st day (see the details of the buildings and dates of testing at www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/CTN_Specified_premises_and_Dates_of_Testing.pdf). For prudence's sake, the above compulsory testing requirement applies to those who have completed a COVID-19 vaccination course as well.

     In accordance with the compulsory testing notice issued earlier, all household members of close contacts are required to undergo compulsory testing. Any person who had lived with a person placed under quarantine pursuant to section 22 of the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation (Cap. 599A) (person under quarantine) in the same residential unit on the date of commencement of quarantine or during the 14 days before that day, and who becomes aware of the quarantine of the person under quarantine when the relevant quarantine has not yet been completed, has to undergo testing within two days of him or her becoming aware that the person under quarantine has been placed under quarantine and report to the Government the result of the test by phone (6275 6901), fax (2530 5872) or email (ct@csb.gov.hk) within three days of undergoing the test. For prudence's sake, the above compulsory testing requirement applies to those who have completed a COVID-19 vaccination course as well.

  CTCs provide testing services for the public, including free service for persons subject to compulsory testing. Booking and walk-in services are available. Members of the public only need to provide simple personal information on the 24-hour booking system (www.communitytest.gov.hk/en). The system shows the booking status of the centres for the coming two weeks to facilitate the public's planning and selection of a suitable testing centre and a time slot for testing. The testing centres will accord priority to serve individuals with advance bookings. As of 6pm today (December 3), there were around 32 000 booking places available for tomorrow (December 4) at the CTCs, and around 93 per cent availability for booking places for the coming seven days. Members of the public may call the testing centres for enquiries on the availability of bookings or walk-in quotas before visiting the centres.
 
  As persons who resided or worked within the same building as the residence of local COVID-19 cases with a mutant strain will be subject to compulsory testing on specified dates in accordance with the announcement by the DH, the Government will reopen the mobile specimen collection station at the podium playground of New Jade Garden in Chai Wan tomorrow to provide free testing service for residents and workers of New Jade Garden subject to compulsory testing. The service period of the mobile specimen collection stations at Edinburgh Place in Central, Wong Tai Sin Square, Lai Kok Community Hall in Cheung Sha Wan, MacPherson Playground in Mong Kok and Tin Shui Sports Centre in Tin Shui Wai will be extended to December 19 (Sunday). Outdoor mobile specimen collection stations will be closed if Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 3 or the Red Rainstorm Warning Signal is in force while all mobile specimen collection stations together with all CTCs will be closed when Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No. 8 or higher or the Black Rainstorm Warning Signal is in force.
 
     Free testing service will be provided to persons subject to compulsory testing at CTCs and mobile specimen collection stations located at 30 places in various districts tomorrow. The testing capacity should be sufficient to meet the demand. Persons subject to compulsory testing and those with the "LeaveHomeSafe" COVID-19 exposure notification or SMS notification from the CHP reminding them to undergo testing as soon as possible may receive free testing at CTCs or mobile specimen collection stations (if the service scope is applicable). The opening dates and operating hours of the mobile specimen collection stations are stated in Annex 2.

     Persons subject to compulsory testing may choose to undergo testing via the following routes:

1. To visit any of the mobile specimen collection stations (see the list and target groups (if applicable) at www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/early-testing.html) for testing;
2. To attend any of the CTCs (see the list at www.communitytest.gov.hk/en); 
3. To self-arrange testing provided by private laboratories which are recognised by the DH and can issue SMS notifications in respect of test results (see the list at www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/List_of_recognised_laboratories_RTPCR.pdf), and the relevant sample must be taken through combined nasal and throat swabs; or
4. To use a specimen bottle distributed to the relevant specified premises by the CHP (if applicable), and return the specimen bottle with the stool sample collected as per relevant guidelines.

     If a person subject to compulsory testing obtains a medical certificate issued by a registered medical practitioner, proving that he or she is unfit to undergo testing using a sample taken through combined nasal and throat swabs because of health reasons, then he or she may choose to undergo testing via the following routes by providing a deep throat saliva sample:
1. To obtain a deep throat saliva specimen collection pack from any of the 121 post offices, vending machines set up at 20 MTR stations or 47 designated general out-patient clinics (GOPCs) of the Hospital Authority and return the specimen to one of the designated specimen collection points (see the distribution points and times, and the specimen collection points and times, at www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/early-testing.html);
2. To undergo testing at any of the GOPCs of the Hospital Authority as instructed by a medical professional of the Hospital Authority; or
3. To self-arrange testing provided by private laboratories which are recognised by the DH and can issue SMS notifications in respect of test results.

     A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau cautioned that testing received at the Accident and Emergency Departments of the Hospital Authority or during hospital stays, or testing provided by private laboratories which cannot issue SMS notifications in respect of test results, does not comply with the requirements of the aforementioned compulsory testing notice.

     "If persons subject to compulsory testing have symptoms, they should seek medical attention immediately and undergo testing as instructed by a medical professional. They should not attend the mobile specimen collection stations or the CTCs."

     Persons subject to compulsory testing must keep the SMS notifications containing the result of the test and the relevant medical certificate (if applicable) for checking by a law enforcement officer when the officer requires the persons to provide information about their undergoing the specified test.

     Furthermore, persons subject to testing under the compulsory testing notices should, as far as reasonably practicable, take appropriate personal disease prevention measures including wearing a mask and maintaining hand hygiene, and, unless for the purpose of undergoing the specified test, stay at their place of residence and avoid going out until the test result is ascertained as far as possible.

     Any enquiries on compulsory testing arrangements may be addressed to the hotline at 6275 6901, which operates daily from 9am to 6pm. If persons subject to compulsory testing plan to conduct testing at any of the CTCs, they can check the centre's appointment status in advance. The hotlines of the CTCs are available at www.communitytest.gov.hk/en/info.

     The Government will continue to trace possibly infected persons who had been to the relevant premises, and seriously verify whether they had complied with the testing notices. Any person who fails to comply with the testing notices commits an offence and may be fined a fixed penalty of $5,000. The person would also be issued with a compulsory testing order requiring him or her to undergo testing within a specified time frame. Failure to comply with the order is an offence and the offender would be liable to a fine at level 4 ($25,000) and imprisonment for six months.

     Relevant officers of different government departments are empowered to perform certain functions under the relevant Regulations under the Prevention and Control of Disease Ordinance (Cap. 599), including requesting individuals to provide information and assistance when necessary. Any person who fails to comply with the relevant request commits an offence and would be liable to a fine at level 3 ($10,000). Collection and use of any personal data for conducting COVID-19 tests must meet the requirements under the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap. 486). Government departments or testing service providers which handle the relevant information may provide the data to the DH or other relevant departments for anti-epidemic purposes as necessary. The workflow does not involve the provision of any personal data to organisations or persons outside Hong Kong.

     The spokesman said, "The Government urges all individuals who are in doubt about their own health conditions, or individuals with infection risks (such as individuals who visited places with epidemic outbreaks or contacted confirmed cases), to undergo testing promptly for early identification of infected persons."




Government tightens boarding and quarantine requirements for places with Omicron cases detected

     The Government announced today (December 3) that in view of the latest global developments of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, Iceland and Singapore will be specified as Group A specified places from 0.00am on December 6 to tighten the boarding and quarantine requirements for relevant inbound travellers.

     The Government announced earlier that as a preventive measure, the Government would specify places which have detected Omicron cases as Group A specified places. Noting that the detection of Omicron cases was confirmed in Iceland and Singapore, the Government will specify these places as Group A specified places from 0.00am on December 6. Non-Hong Kong residents who have stayed there within 21 days are not allowed to enter Hong Kong. Hong Kong residents can only board a flight for Hong Kong if they have been fully vaccinated and hold a recognised vaccination record. They have to undergo compulsory quarantine in a designated quarantine hotel for 21 days upon return to Hong Kong, with six tests to be conducted during quarantine, followed by compulsory testing in a community testing centre on the 26th day of arrival at Hong Kong.

     Details on the relevant boarding and compulsory quarantine requirements for respective specified places can be found at www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/inbound-travel.html.
 
     The Government will gazette the relevant updated specifications under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-boundary Conveyances and Travellers) Regulation (Cap. 599H) to effect the above measures.




First school has students vaccinated with Sinovac at Community Vaccination Centre via group booking

     The Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr Patrick Nip, viewed the administering of the Sinovac vaccine to some 30 students at the Community Vaccination Centre (CVC) at Kwun Chung Sports Centre this afternoon (December 3).

     Persons aged between 12 and 17 have been able to receive the Sinovac vaccine since December 2. The Scientia Secondary School is the first school to have students vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine at a CVC through group booking.

     "The Sinovac vaccine offers an option for teenagers and parents. A higher vaccination rate of students will help students to resume full-day schooling and normal extra-curricular activities as soon as possible. Under the threat posed by mutant strains with high transmissibility, persons who are eligible for vaccination, including teenagers, should get vaccinated as early as possible to protect themselves," Mr Nip said.

     Apart from making reservations for vaccination at the CVCs or the two designated clinics under the Hospital Authority through the designated website of the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme (www.covidvaccine.gov.hk), they can make a reservation for a Sinovac vaccination through private doctors or clinics enrolled in the Vaccination Programme. 

     In addition, five Student Health Service Centres of the Department of Health provide the Sinovac vaccine to students aged 12 to 17 as well as health information to parents and students. Parents can call the Student Health Service at 2856 9133 for appointment booking. 

     Persons aged 12 to 17 are required to bring along a consent form signed by their parents to get their vaccinations. The consent form can be downloaded from the designated website of the Vaccination Programme (www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/pdf/Consent_Form_for_COVID19_Vaccination_ENG.pdf). 

     Moreover, Mr Nip attended the launching ceremony of the COVID-19 Mobile Vaccination Station and inspected the first-day operation of the mobile vaccination vehicle at Sun Chui Estate in Sha Tin this morning. A total of 486 persons got vaccinated with the BioNTech vaccine at the mobile vaccination vehicle today.

     The Mobile Vaccination Station will continue to serve members of the public, in particular the elderly, who want to receive the BioNTech vaccine at Sun Chui Estate tomorrow (December 4). 

     The service schedule of the Mobile Vaccination Station has been uploaded to the designated website of the Vaccination Programme (www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/en/programme). For enquiries and bookings, members of the public can call 5193 0375. 

     Before making an appointment, members of the public should take note of a minimum interval of 14 days between a COVID-19 vaccination and any other vaccinations (including the seasonal flu vaccine).




CHP investigates outbreak of upper respiratory tract infection at kindergarten/nursery

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today (December 3) investigating an outbreak of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) at a kindergarten/nursery in Lai Chi Kok, and appeals to members of the public and staff of institutions to stay alert and maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene.

     The outbreak involves 21 pupils, comprising 15 boys and six girls between 2 and 5 years old. They developed cough, runny nose and sore throat since November 2. Eleven of them sought medical attention and none required hospitalisation. All of them are in stable condition. 

     Officers of the CHP have advised the kindergarten/nursery to adopt necessary infection control measures against respiratory infections. The kindergarten/nursery has been put under medical surveillance. In addition, since the symptoms of URTI are similar to those of COVID-19, for prudence's sake, the kindergarten/nursery was covered in the compulsory testing notice (CTN) on November 6 to exclude the possibility of COVID-19 infection. The kindergarten/nursery has already suspended teaching activities for at least five days for cleaning and executing the CTN.

     The public should maintain good personal and environmental hygiene against influenza and other respiratory illnesses and note the following:
 

  • Receive seasonal influenza vaccination for personal protection;
  • Surgical masks can prevent transmission of respiratory viruses from ill persons. It is essential for persons who are symptomatic (even if having mild symptoms) to wear a surgical mask;
  • Wear a surgical mask when taking public transport or staying in crowded places. It is important to wear a mask properly, including performing hand hygiene before wearing and after removing a mask;
  • Avoid touching one's eyes, mouth and nose;
  • Wash hands with liquid soap and water properly whenever possibly contaminated;
  • When hands are not visibly soiled, clean them with 70 to 80 per cent alcohol-based handrub;
  • Cover the nose and mouth with tissue paper when sneezing or coughing. Dispose of soiled tissue paper properly into a lidded rubbish bin, and wash hands thoroughly afterwards;
  • Maintain good indoor ventilation;
  • When having respiratory symptoms, wear a surgical mask, refrain from work or attending classes at school, avoid going to crowded places and seek medical advice promptly; and
  • Maintain a balanced diet, exercise regularly, take adequate rest, do not smoke and avoid overstress.

     Members of the public, particularly children, the elderly and those with chronic diseases, should wear a face mask and consult a doctor promptly if they develop symptoms of respiratory tract infection.




Suspicious websites and mobile applications (Apps) related to Dah Sing Bank, Limited

The following is issued on behalf of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority:

     The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) wishes to alert members of the public to a press release issued by Dah Sing Bank, Limited relating to suspicious websites and Apps, which has been reported to the HKMA. A hyperlink to the press release is available on the HKMA website.

     The HKMA wishes to remind the public that banks will not send SMS or e-mails with embedded hyperlinks which direct them to the banks' websites to carry out transactions. They will not ask customers for sensitive personal information, such as login passwords or one-time password, by phone, email or SMS (including via embedded hyperlinks).

     Anyone who has provided his or her personal information, or who has conducted any financial transactions, through or in response to the websites or Apps concerned, should contact the bank using the contact information provided in the press release, and report the matter to the Police by contacting the Cyber Security and Technology Crime Bureau of the Hong Kong Police Force at 2860 5012.