Hong Kong to offer free coronavirus testing for all residents

Hong Kong to offer free coronavirus testing for all residents
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As Hong Kong struggles with rising coronavirus cases, city leadership announced Friday it would offer free voluntary COVID-19 tests for all residents.

Leader Carrie Lam announced the tests would become available starting in two weeks and would serve to gauge the level of community transmission by uncovering asymptomatic cases, The Associated Press reported.

"Put simply, anyone in the community who wants to do a test can take the test. We won't care if they come from high-risk groups or not," Lam said.

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She added that the tests would be rolled out in a way to avoid queuing in lines and to maintain social distance.

Hong Kong previously postponed its election for the city's Legislative Council slated for September, citing issues such as large gatherings at polling centers, despite some calling the move a political tactic.

In late July, Lam requested that Beijing aid Hong Kong's virus-testing capabilities. She also attempted to quash fears among some city residents who believe the mainland government would attempt to keep DNA samples for surveillance purposes, Reuters reported.

“It is a false accusation and smear to say DNA samples of Hong Kong citizens would be sent to the mainland,” Lam said, adding that the samples would be destroyed after they are tested.

On Friday, Hong Kong reported 89 new COVID-19 infections, 81 of which were locally transmitted, Reuters reported.

The region has recorded nearly 3,900 cases and 46 fatalities since January.