SOME PEOPLE ARE saying that the “test the whole population” system that worked so well in China could not be implemented in a non-mainland city like Hong Kong, which leans towards Western individualism rather than Chinese cohesiveness.
That may not be true. The same Chinese “universal testing” program was tried in Macao, which has an even longer connection with the West. It worked well. The entire population was successfully tested using the mainland method – and they did it twice over.
Image at the top shows the task force of epidemiologists led by the Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, at a meeting at the Central Government Offices on Friday February 18, 2022. It shows Professor Chan (front, first right) chatting with the Director of Institute of Infectious Disease Control and Prevention of the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Mr Kang Min (front, second left).
THEY LINED UP BEFORE
People have also forgotten what happened in Hong Kong in September 2020. A mainland-led testing service was provided for the public.
The turn-out from medical people and volunteers was extraordinary. More than 6,000 Hong Kong doctors and nurses teamed up with 4,000 serving and retired civil servants and 2,000 technology personnel to work with specialists from the mainland: a 570-strong team.
Turn-out from the public was also good. There was no pressure to be tested, but almost three million people turned up anyway. By the end of that process, Hong Kong had conducted more than 3.23 million tests (about 430 000 tests per million). This was higher the equivalent authorities had achieved in Singapore, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, etc.
In short, universal testing could work well in Hong Kong.