HONG KONG, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Another over 160 members of the mainland nucleic acid testing team have arrived in Hong Kong Friday for the Universal Community Testing Program (UCT Program) that starts on Sept. 1.
Amid a resurgence of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government has sought assistance from the central government to contain the epidemic.
The first batch of 60 virus testing professionals from Guangdong Province arrived in Hong Kong earlier to participate in the preparatory work for the UCT Program.
Hong Kong residents have welcomed their arrival and thousands have signed up to become volunteers at sample collection sites and communities across Hong Kong.
HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam attended a ceremony to welcome the arrival of the mainland nucleic acid test support team at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Sports Center, and inspected the temporary air-inflated laboratories that are ready for commissioning in the sports center.
Addressing the ceremony, Lam expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the central government for its positive response to the request of the HKSAR by establishing speedily a support team and providing necessary equipment and resources to enhance the testing capability of Hong Kong in a short period of time, enabling the HKSAR government to launch the large-scale UCT Program to provide voluntary virus testing for all.
Lam thanked each member of the support team on behalf of the Hong Kong residents.
"Although the epidemic has eased recently compared to the situation earlier, it has yet to be stabilized. There are still a certain number of confirmed cases every day and a proportion of them are cases with unknown sources of infection, suggesting that there are still silent transmission chains in the community. The UCT Program can help us to identify asymptomatic patients and further curb the epidemic, thereby enabling the resumption of normal social lives and economic activities long awaited by the public as soon as possible," Lam said.
"Hong Kong is part of the big family. We are closely related to our compatriots in Hong Kong. It is the fine tradition of the Chinese people that one side is in trouble and all sides come to help. We are duty-bound to support Hong Kong in fighting the epidemic," said Li Dachuan, chief leader of the support team.
Li said the newly-arrived members included 147 from Guangdong and the advance teams from Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Fujian Province. More members in Guangxi and Fujian are ready for orders to provide help in Hong Kong subject to the actual need.
After two weeks of preparation, the Fire Eye Laboratory in the sports center is ready to support large-scale COVID-19 testing. The laboratory can help enhance Hong Kong's testing capacity to 300,000 to 500,000 per day.
The National Health Commission said it will coordinate about 600 members in total to aid the large-scale COVID-19 testing in Hong Kong based on actual needs.