HONG KONG, CHINASEPTEMBER 1, 2020SOURCE: HKISDRESTRICTIONS: NO RESALE
1. Mid shot Chief Executive Carrie Lam sanitising her hands before entering testing centre at the government headquarters2. Mid shot staff showing Carrie Lam to the registration counter inside the testing centre3. Pan right staff registering Carrie Lam for the test4. Pan right Carrie Lam holding the sample bottle walking to the testing booths5. Mid shot medical staff placing swab into Carrie Lam's nostrils for the test6. Extreme wide shot Carrie Lam at testing booth7. Mid shot medical staff placing swab into Matthew Cheung's nostrils for the test8. Mid shot medical staff placing swab into Financial Secretary Paul Chan's nostrils for the test9. Mid shot medical staff placing swab into Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng's nostrils for the test10. Mid shot Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan holding the sample bottle11. Mid shot medical staff placing swab into Sophia Chan's nostrils for the test12. Mid shot Executive Council non-official convenor Bernard Chan getting the sample bottle at the test centre13. Mid shot Executive Council member Arthur Li getting the sample bottle at the test centre14. Pan left Executive council member and Legislative council member Regina Ip walking to the testing booths15. Wide shot members of the executive council getting tested16. Mid shot Arthur Li getting tested17. Mid shot executive council member Fanny Law getting tested18. Wide shot members of the executive council getting tested19. Extreme wide shot members of the executive council getting tested
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newseriesHong Kong starts mass virus tests undermined by distrust of China By Su Xinqi and Yan Zhao
ATTENTION - ADDS Lam quote, details ///Hong Kong, Sept 1, 2020 (AFP) - Hong Kong launched a mass coronavirus testing scheme on Tuesday, but calls for millions to take up the offer have been undermined by deep distrust of the government following China's crushing of the city's democracy movement.The free voluntary tests are part of an attempt to stamp out a third wave of infections that began in late June and saw the densely populated city reimpose economically painful social distancing measures.But the programme has been hampered by a limited response due to the involvement of mainland Chinese testing firms and doctors -- and swirling public fears of the harvesting of data and DNA as Beijing cracks down on calls for democratic reform.Since registration began on Saturday, 510,000 people have signed up -- around seven percent of the city's 7.5 million population.About 10,000 people were tested on Tuesday morning, city leader Carrie Lam said, including government ministers."It will help Hong Kong emerge from the pandemic unscathed and is conducive to the resumption of daily activities," she told reporters.But health experts advising the government have said as many as five million people might need to be tested to comprehensively uncover hidden transmissions and end the current wave.Hong Kong has recorded just over 4,800 infections since the virus first hit the city in late January but about 75 percent of those cases were detected since the start of July."I am doing this for myself and for others," Winnie Chan, a mother in her thirties, told AFP as she entered a test centre. "I am confident and I support the government's policy."Others said they had no plans to sign up."I think it's a waste of time," local resident Emily Li told AFP. "The government can't convince me in terms of the effectiveness of the testing programme."
- 'Anti-China radicals' -
Authorities have billed the scheme as a benevolent public health initiative made possible with Chinese help.But the involvement of teams and labs from the mainland has sent the rumour mills into overdrive and compounded fears of Beijing's surveillance state, which uses biometric data to monitor its citizens.Some prominent Hong Kong health experts have questioned the efficacy of a mass testing programme, arguing that more targeted monitoring of at-risk and vulnerable communities would be a better use of resources.They have also raised concerns that the act of testing so many people might itself help spread the virus in a city where emergency rules currently forbid more than two people gathering in public.A group of pro-democracy politicians and lawmakers, including prominent activist Joshua Wong, have called on the public to boycott the test.They voiced fears of mass DNA harvesting and concerns Hong Kong might introduce a mandatory health code system like those used on the mainland.Hong Kong's government has repeatedly rejected those concerns, denying DNA would be taken and insisting that no tests would go to mainland labs.Lam has previously slammed those opposed to the testing scheme as "active anti-Beijing, anti-government members" who "will not spare any chance to create troubles and stir up confrontations even when it comes to a public health issue".Beijing's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office called those opposed to testing "anti-China radicals" with a "vile disregard" for public health.Last week Lam also dismissed doctors who voiced concerns about the efficacy of city-wide testing as being politically motivated, angering some in the medical community.Some of the doctors who raised concerns are top epidemiologists who have been helping the government battle the virus.At the height of the third wave in late July, Hong Kong was recording about 150 new cases a day.Citing the rising infections, Lam cancelled local legislature elections for a year, sparking uproar from the pro-democracy camp, which had hoped to capitalise on seething public anger after last year's huge protests.Cases have since fallen back to single digits, with just nine new infections on Monday, and government opponents have questioned why elections needed to be cancelled if the government could conduct city-wide tests.su-jta/mtp