China’s top respiratory disease expert suggests mass Covid-19 testing in Hong Kong

China’s top respiratory disease expert suggests mass Covid-19 testing in Hong Kong

  • China’s top respiratory disease expert says without a strict lockdown, Hong Kong needs to conduct mass testing to contain the current Covid-19 outbreak.

China’s top respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan has urged the Hong Kong government to carry out citywide Covid-19 testing to contain its third wave of local infections.

Hong Kong registered a triple-digit rise in Covid-19 cases for the eighth day running on Wednesday, pushing its total infections over 3,000 since its first coronavirus outbreak in late January.

The city’s authorities are battling to manage the burden on local hospitals as a result of the surge and are facing the additional challenge that the origin of more than half of daily infections have been untraceable since mid-July.

“My understanding is that Hong Kong people are now being tested on a voluntary basis,” Zhong said in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV. “But I think if the situation goes on like this, everyone should be made to do the test.”

Based in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, Zhong is known for leading the battle against the 2003 Sars outbreak. He is one the most trusted voices in China during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Zhong said Hong Kong’s ban on dine-in services, which took effect this week, was a crucial step to contain the outbreak. Other stringent measures introduced in the city include mandatory mask wearing in public.

While the increase in cases was concerning, they were not yet growing at an exponential rate, he said. “Hong Kong’s problem was never on the medical aspect, but on containment.”