Hong Kong is set to offer free voluntary coronavirus testing for all its residents as it bids to contain a resurgence of the virus.
The plan, which was announced by leader Carrie Lam on Friday, will not be implemented for at least two weeks, but will enable citywide testing for the first time.
It comes a week after China sent a team of health officials to conduct widespread Covid-19 testing in the financial hub.
It was the first time that the mainland has assisted Hong Kong with battling the virus.
“The situation in Hong Kong is still critical, with the number of cases remaining high,” Lam told reporters earlier today.
She said she had asked for help from Beijing in July to increase Hong Kong’s testing capacity.
She also used the press conference to dispel fears that China may use the opportunity to collect DNA samples.
“It is a false accusation and smear to say DNA samples of Hong Kong citizens would be sent to the mainland,” Lam said, before adding that all samples would be destroyed after testing.
The territory saw a surge in coronavirus cases at the start of last month and subsequently brought in stricter measures, including mandatory wearing of masks outside and restricting gatherings to two people.
Just under 4,000 people in Hong Kong have been infected, with 89 new cases reported on Friday. In total, 46 people have died.