Hong Kong COVID-19 Testing: When Simple and Convenient Meet
Hong Kong is diligently working to make it as simple as possible for people to test for COVID-19 as they go about their days using public transportation. In developing procedures to meet this important effort, the MTR Corporation in Hong Kong has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and fighting the virus right alongside the community.
To facilitate the Government’s Enhanced Laboratory Surveillance Program for the public to access COVID-19 testing service with convenience, vending machines were set up earlier this month at 10 MTR stations providing COVID-19 testing kits. Following communication with relevant government departments, the 10 stations across the MTR network were identified to provide this convenient form of testing at: Ngau Tau Kok, Kwai Fong, North Point, Tiu Keng Leng, Wong Chuk Hang, Tai Wai, Tai Po Market, Siu Hong, Kowloon, and Tsing Yi stations.
About 10,000 COVID-19 testing kits per day are supplied by a government contractor and evenly distributed to the vending machines located in these stations. Each station has a fixed supply each day and each person can collect one kit while stocks last. Judging by the first day of demand, this pilot program is a huge success as the initial 10,000 kits were sold out on day one.
Members of the public can collect a kit free of charge by scanning their Octopus transit card at the stations during operating hours. “Traffic News” of the MTR Mobile provides information about the supply of COVID-19 testing kits including whether stations are out of stock or kits are still available.
How Does it Work?
Saliva specimens are collected by the kits and must be returned to designated government-run collection points for processing. No appointments necessary, just step right up to the vending machine to get your testing kit.
In fighting the pandemic, MTR communicates with relevant government departments and suitably adjusts the arrangements for distribution points based on actual demands to facilitate the government’s measures.
Signage has been put up at the relevant stations to remind the public of the locations of the vending machines, and MTR has deployed additional manpower to help maintain order around the vending machines.
MTR is calling on members of the public collecting the COVID-19 testing kits to maintain social distance and personal hygiene. Cleaning and disinfecting of the stations have also been enhanced considering the added flow of people.
Help the Government Help You
MTR reminds those who have symptoms or have had contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19 that, according to the advice of the Hospital Authority, they should visit the accident and emergency departments of public hospitals or General Outpatient Clinics as soon as possible for medical advice and testing arranged by hospitals instead of collecting specimen collection packs for testing.
Members of the public should note that MTR stations will only distribute testing kits. The public should return testing kits to the 47 General Out-patience Clinics of the Hospital Authority or 13 clinics of the Department of Health. More information is available at this government website: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/early-testing.html