HKSAR government condemns erroneous remarks on mass COVID-19 testing

The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Sunday condemned misinformation posted online and via social media about the mass COVID-19 testing program, and reiterated that the program can help identify hidden COVID-19 patients in the community and facilitate an early return to normal life and economic activities, said a statement.

The government said it was aware of a number of exaggerated and untrue claims about the mass testing scheme circulating on the internet and social media, including false claims about the sampling method, infection control, accuracy and effectiveness of the test, according to the statement.

On the basis of the information the government has released to the public, it is reasonable to believe that the erroneous remarks are deliberately disseminating information with the intention of discrediting the testing and misleading the public to reduce the people's desire to participate in it, the statement added.

The government stressed that mass testing is safe, convenient, efficient and fully protects the privacy of individuals. Infection control and social distancing measures are implemented in 141 testing centers in the city. All personal data, including test samples and results, are used for testing purposes only in Hong Kong. The workflow does not involve the provision of any personal data to overseas organizations or persons. The government encouraged the public to take an active part in the fight against the pandemic.

Over 418,000 people had submitted online reservations for the city's mass COVID-19 screening as of 17:45 p.m. on Sunday, the local health authority said.