At the start of a mass research campaign, Hong Kong screened thousands of people for coronavirus on Tuesday, which has become another political flash point in the semi-autonomous Chinese region. Volunteers stood in line at some of the more than 100 testing centres, although many people mistrust the services and staff provided by the central government of China and some expressed fear that DNA would be obtained.
More than 500,000 people in the 7.5 million town signed up for the service ahead of time, which will last at least a week. Its aim is to classify silent virus carriers-those without symptoms-who could spread the disease. The government expects 5 million people to participate in the scheme, which depending on demand may be extended to two weeks.
Hong Kong’s worst outbreak in early July was partly blamed on exempting airline workers, truck drivers from mainland China and cargo ship sailors from quarantine requirements. At its height, Hong Kong reported more than 100 cases transmitted locally a day, following weeks of June without any.