Hong Kong to offer free, universal COVID testing

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, wearing a face mask following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, attends a news conference in Hong Kong

Hong Kong will offer free, universal testing to its residents starting Sept. 1.

The testing program, which will last two weeks, is on a voluntary basis.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says universal testing was possible due to support from Beijing, which provided resources such as laboratory staff to boost capacity in the semi-autonomous city.

The program is aimed at identifying individuals who are infected but have exhibited no symptoms. The city, with a population of 7.5 million, has conducted over 1.2 million tests so far.

Critics of the universal testing program say there may be potential privacy concerns, given the program is supported by the Chinese Communist Party.

Lam brushed aside such concerns, stating no matter what the government did, there will always be people who come up with conspiracy theories.

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