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Mainland experts to help boost SAR test efficiency

By Li Bingcun | | Updated: 2020-08-04 15:31
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With the world's "most successful" track record in anti-pandemic efforts, mainland technicians selected to assist Hong Kong in virus testing will help the city improve its fight against COVID-19, a veteran professional in cross-boundary medical collaboration said.

Lo Chung-mau, hospital chief executive at the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital, which also participated in the aid program, believes the collaboration will develop smoothly. In a face-to-face interview with China Daily in Shenzhen on Monday, he cited unified standards in virus testing between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland.

In view of Hong Kong's grave COVID-19 situation, Guangdong province has selected 60 medical technicians from 20 public hospitals to help Hong Kong with massive virus testing. Seven of them arrived in the city on Sunday and started work on Monday.

Hailing it as "the most experienced team in the world", Lo said that many of the members have contributed to the COVID-19 fights in Wuhan, the city hardest hit by the pandemic, and Beijing, the nation's capital, which in June saw a new round of infections that were related to a food market.

These veteran experts, who brought advanced equipment and abundant testing consumable materials to Hong Kong, are expected to greatly enhance the city's testing efficiency and quality, Lo said.

One virus testing technician of Lo's hospital is a member of the team, Lo said. She was sent to assist Beijing and came back to Shenzhen last week, he added.

Beijing conducted virus tests of over 2 million people most affected by the resurgence in COVID-19 cases over 10 days in June, while Wuhan tested 9 million people in a 10-day campaign in May.

This is also what Hong Kong desperately needs, Lo said. Hong Kong is facing the worst wave of the pandemic outbreak, yet its testing capacity has greatly lagged behind, he added.

Currently, the capacity of Hong Kong Kong's public agencies is around 10,000, and the capacity of three private agencies facilitating the high-risk group screening is 20,000 to 30,000.

In an interview with Xinhua News Agency, Yu Dewen, leader of the 60-member mainland technician team, revealed that its aim to increase that number to 100,000 to 200,000, and even more.

Lo believes the contingent of 60 experts will help alleviate the stress of local technicians. He also hopes their expertise can help the city develop a highly centralized, automatic detection mode to improve efficiency.

Meanwhile, Lo also expressed confidence in the successful collaboration between the mainland and Hong Kong experts.

Noting there won't be a language barrier as most technicians can speak Cantonese, Lo said that the standards and procedures of virus tests are the same in Hong Kong and the mainland.

He also said the cooperation is laboratory-level and does not involve patient care, and thus it will be much easier.

Lo also refuted allegations that those mainland experts will collect DNA samples during the tests and send them to the mainland.

He noted the tests can collect only RNA samples, and all the tests will be conducted in the city.

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