Information on Compulsory Testing & StayHomeSafe Scheme
What to do if you are required for Compulsory Testing or to home quarantine under the StayHomeSafe Scheme?
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Compulsory Testing requires any person who had been present at specified premises or area during the specified period (as required in the compulsory testing notice published by the Government) to undergo a COVID-19 nucleic acid (PCR) test. The Government strongly reminds members of the public, including foreign domestic helpers, to strictly follow the compulsory testing requirements and undergo testing on time as required.
There are 4 groups of people who are subject to compulsory testing:
1. Household members of close contacts of confirmed cases
Asymptomatic close contacts of confirmed cases must undergo compulsory quarantine in quarantine centres. The Government requires the household members of close contacts to undergo compulsory testing.
2. Buildings resided by COVID-19 cases with mutant strain
Persons who resided or worked within the same building as the residence of relevant cases will be subject to compulsory testing on specified dates in accordance with the announcement by the Department of Health (DH).
3. Specified premises
Any persons who had been present at the specified places during the specified date(s) and time period(s) should undergo the multiple tests on time as required. Check here for the list of specified premises of Compulsory Testing Notices: https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/features/105294.html
4. High risk groups or high exposure groups
Individuals who are in doubt about their own health conditions, or individuals with infection risks or higher risk of exposure (such as individuals who visited places with epidemic outbreaks or contacted confirmed cases) to undergo testing promptly for early identification of infected persons.
Points to note:
The above compulsory testing requirement also applies to those who have completed a COVID-19 vaccination course as well.
The first test should be taken within three days after the compulsory testing notice is issued while the second test should be taken within the period of fourth to sixth day.
Employers can help to remind their workers who had been present at specified places during the specified date(s) and time period(s) to undergo testing. Domestic helpers can undergo free COVID-19 testing at community testing centres or mobile specimen collection stations.
You can check the Government’s Compulsory testing dashboard for the places to undergo compulsory testing: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/compulsory-testing.html
You can also check your LeaveHomeSafe app to see whether you were at the same venue at around the same time with a recently confirmed COVID-19 patient. Check the app for notifications that contain information on where and when the exposure might have occurred. Health advice will also be sent to users to remind them to take proper precautionary measures and seek medical treatment if needed.
Any person who fails to comply with the compulsory testing notice or compulsory testing direction commits an offence and the maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine at level 3 ($10,000). The fixed penalty for discharging liability for the offence is $5,000. The person may also be issued with a compulsory testing order requiring him/her to undergo testing within a specified timeframe. Failure to comply with the order is an offence and the offender would be liable to a fine at level 4 ($25,000) and to imprisonment for six months.
Where can I get tested?
- To visit any of the mobile specimen collection stations (see the list and target groups (if applicable) at www.communitytest.gov.hk/en/station/) for testing;
- To attend any of the community testing centres (see the list at www.communitytest.gov.hk/en);
- To self-arrange testing provided by private laboratories which are recognised by the DH and can issue SMS notifications in respect of test results (see the list at www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/List_of_recognised_laboratories_RTPCR.pdf), and the relevant sample must be taken through combined nasal and throat swabs; or
- To use a specimen bottle distributed to the relevant specified premises by the CHP (if applicable), and return the specimen bottle with the stool sample collected as per relevant guidelines.
About Community Testing Centres:
Booking and walk-in services are available. CTCs will give priority to individuals with advance booking. Citizens who choose to book online via the 24-hour appointment booking system only need to provide simple personal information (including their name, identity document number and phone number) to select the testing centre and time slot (displayed at 30-minute intervals). Individuals may also visit the testing centres directly to conduct on-site registration and testing. Booking service for some time slots of individual Community Testing Centre(s) may be quite full. Walk-in service may not be timely provided. Citizens can consider other time slots or other means for conducting a testing. Booking online in advance can avoid queueing.Please note that the waiting times may be long during the current 5th wave of the outbreak so remember to allow sufficient time.
You can make a booking through this website: https://www.communitytest.gov.hk/en/
You need to bring along the original copy of the identity document you provided for booking and the booking confirmation SMS when you go to take the combined nasal and throat swabs at the CTC.
CTCs open daily from 8am to 1:30pm and from 2:30pm to 8pm. Here are the locations of CTCs: https://www.communitytest.gov.hk/en/info
Symptomatic individuals are not suitable for testing at Community Testing Centres. If persons who are subject to compulsory testing have symptoms of COVID-19 (even if having very mild symptoms only), they should seek medical attention immediately and undergo testing as instructed by a medical professional.
How do I find out about my test result?
Participants with a negative result will receive a test report for a COVID-19 nucleic acid test issued by the contractor within 24 hours. Those who test positive will receive calls from the Department of Health to arrange for isolation and treatment in a public hospital.
What do I do if my test result is positive?
You should stay at home and wait for further instruction. The Department of Health will arrange for you to be admitted to a public hospital for treatment as soon as possible. Authorities urge the public not to rush to the accident and emergency units or call an ambulance even if they return preliminary-positive results using home test kits.
Quarantine will be arranged for asymptomatic close contacts, while medical surveillance will be arranged for your other contacts. In general, household members will stay in the same unit in a quarantine centre, depending on availability of units and size and composition of the family. Quarantine centres will provide the confinees with meals and basic daily personal necessities. You can bring your own personal necessities, such as clothes and daily medications.
About rapid antigen test for COVID-19
Rapid antigen tests (RAT) are readily available to purchase in the market. You can take a rapid antigen test for early detection but there are chances that rapid tests could produce false positive results. Rapid antigen tests can only serve as a reference and cannot replace the nucleic acid test which is at present the gold standard for diagnosis of COVID-19. Rapid antigen tests do not replace the compulsory testing which requires a nucleic acid test at CTC or mobile specimen station.
Watch this video on how to take a rapid antigen test. Please note that different products have different testing procedures. Users must refer to the specific instructions for use when using the test kits.
Those who return a positive test using a home test kit should seek immediate medical attention, such as undergoing a formal test at private clinic or arrange delivery agencies to send their samples to health authorities for testing.
From March 7 onwards, if you or your helper has tested positive using COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test, you need to declare on this website in the link here.
Individuals are required to submit the relevant information via the System, including details of their RAT, personal information, details of their household contacts, as well as symptoms and household environment.
After completing the initial reporting, individuals will receive an SMS with a link and they have to use the link to upload supporting documents (photo of the RAT result and identity document). After successfully uploading the documents, they can download their isolation order issued by the CHP in accordance with the law through the link. Based on the information submitted, the CHP will conduct follow-up actions, including arranging medical support by the Hospital Authority (HA), admission to hospital, community treatment facilities or community isolation facilities (CIFs). Based on the information reported, the CHP will also send SMS to their household contacts who will need to submit their identification document with the link provided in the SMS. The household contacts can download their quarantine order, issued by the CHP in accordance with the law, through the link after uploading the required document.
What to do at home while I wait to be admitted into the hospital or community isolation facility?
While waiting for admission to hospital or community isolation facility, please stay at home, avoid going out and wear a surgical mask. Do not have meals together with people you are living with or share cutlery and utensils. Do not share your personal items such as towels with others.
If you don’t have enough space in your residence to self-isolate, then you should try your best to avoid human contact with the family members of your employer and try to maintain good ventilation at home. All members in the household should wear face mask and remain at home. It may take a few days to be sent to isolation or to the hospital.
The Hospital Authority announced a number of designated clinics for confirmed cases of COVID-19 to help provide diagnosis and treatment for the people with mild symptoms of infection, such as fever, cough or sore throat, after being notified by the Department of Health on their positive results and while awaiting hospital admission.
The designated clinics will be open from Monday to Sunday, including public holidays, from 9am to 1pm and from 2pm to 5pm. Eligible patients should call the selected designated clinic to make an appointment, and will be provided the earliest appointment time slot in the next 24 hours. Appointments can only be made by calling the following hotline: 1836 115. Only those who have made appointments can be accepted.
The hotline 1836 115 will operate daily from 8am to 10pm seven days a week beginning today to answer enquiries on medical information and provide infection control advice for people pending admission to isolation facilities upon confirmed infection.
About Restriction-testing declaration
When a considerable number of persons who have recently contracted COVID-19 have recently been present on the same premises or area, the Government will delineate restricted areas and make a “restriction-testing declaration”. Persons within the areas are required to stay in their premises and undergo compulsory testing in accordance with the arrangement by the Government, and can only leave after the relevant test results are mostly ascertained. All premises within the restricted areas, whether or not confirmed cases were found therein, would be included in the compulsory testing notice. Any person who had been present in the restricted area for more than two hours in the past 14 days (including but not limited to visitors, residents and workers) have to also undergo compulsory testing.
What is the StayHomeSafe Scheme?
The Government has launched (February 8) the new “StayHomeSafe” Scheme. Under this scheme, if you are a close contact of a confirmed case, you are required to undergo a 14-day home quarantine or if you are close contact of a close contact of a confirmed case, you are required to undergo a 4-day quarantine. You are legally required to stay at your dwelling place until the end of the quarantine period (except for going to a Community Testing Centre (CTC) for swab taking on Day 12). You are required to follow the relevant requirements, failing which you may be liable to a fine or imprisonment.
Under the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation (Cap. 599A), the Department of Health will issue a compulsory quarantine order to the following two categories of people:
- the close contacts of COVID-19 case and the persons have to undergo 14-day quarantine, to be followed by a 7-day self-monitoring period. Read more here: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/Close_Contact_of_Confirmed_Case_en.pdf
- the close contact of close contact (second layer) of COVID-19 case and the persons have to undergo 4-day quarantine. Read more here: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/Close_Contact_of_Close_Contact_en.pdf
The above compulsory quarantine order is provided that the person is considered suitable for home quarantine. The principles whether one can undergo home quarantine are as follows:
- Only persons who reside in suitable dwelling places would be considered. For example, dwelling places suspected to have transmission, dwelling places without separate washroom/kitchen, subdivided units or very small areas are considered not suitable.
- Another overarching principle is that only those who have similar risk level should be confined at the same location at a material time.
- Physical conditions of individual contacts, including self-care ability, whether care by others is needed, pregnancy status, co-morbidities, etc.
If you or your employer have been issued a compulsory quarantine order to home quarantine and provided that you or your employer meet the suitability of home quarantine, then you or your employer must strictly follow the home quarantine order and follow the guidelines outlined below.
Persons undergoing “StayHomeSafe” must:
- Stay in the premises
- Wear an electronic wristband
- Monitor physical condition including taking body temperature twice a day
- Conduct regular Rapid Antigen Test (close contacts must be testing at the Community Testing Centre on Day 12)
- Follow the home quarantine guidelines outlined in this guide: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/health_advice_for_home_quarantine.pdf
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Last updated on March 9th, 2022