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CS hails new electoral system

The fourth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic has lasted for some time. To our great relief, the number of local confirmed cases has remained at low levels in recent days. The Government's multi-pronged strategy of continuously enhancing our anti-epidemic measures and preventing the importation of cases has proven effective.   Apart from keeping social distancing measures in place and mounting an extensive promotion of testing, we have specifically strengthened the manpower in contact tracing as this is a particularly crucial measure in cutting the chains of viral transmission.   The Department of Health's Contact Tracing Office has redoubled its efforts in speeding up the process of identifying close contacts. Their sterling efforts in contact tracing in the gym cluster last month have significantly helped in suppressing rebounds within a number of days. This was a remarkable success.   For this, I must thank all those who have helped, including some 200 colleagues seconded f

Virus testing backlog reported

The Hospital Authority said it was notified by a COVID-19 test service vendor that some of the test procedures were lengthened due to environmental contamination and subsequent thorough disinfection required in the laboratory.   The authority explained that some of the tests and notification of negative results cannot be completed within 48 hours as the contract terms required.   The test service vendor was contracted by the authority to arrange COVID-19 testing to tie in with the Centre for Health Protection's Enhanced Laboratory Surveillance Programme.   The authority has reported the incident to the Food & Health Bureau and the Department of Health (DH). Starting from today, some of the backlog specimens will be arranged for testing in the DH’s Public Health Laboratory Centre and at three other vendors.   According to the vendor’s report, it has completed the test for all specimens received on or before March 2 and most of March 3. It is expected that the tests for the rest of March 3 and March 4, around 20,000 specimens, will be completed today.   The Public Health Laboratory Centre and the three vendors will continue to render assistance and it is expected that the tests for the rest of specimens will be completed in the coming days.   The authority has tasked the vendor to review its testing procedures and enhance contingency. It said it will seriously follow up the incident with the vendor in accordance with the contract terms to avoid the occurrence of similar incidents.
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