Early Testing and Detection

Early testing and detection is very important

As some people infected with COVID-19 only have mild symptoms, members of the public are advised to seek medical advice promptly when feeling unwell (even if having very mild symptoms only) and get tested under the instructions of a healthcare worker, so that appropriate diagnosis and management can be given at the earliest possible time.

Virus testing routes

1a. Individuals subject to compulsory testing / in targeted groups

Note: Starting from 29 April 2021, under the relaxed social distancing measures under "vaccine bubble", staff of catering businesses operating under Types C and D Mode of Operation, staff of six types of scheduled premises (namely bars or pubs; bathhouses; party rooms; clubs or nightclubs; karaoke establishments; and mahjong-tin kau premises) and staff of local group tours of not more than 30 persons organised by licensed travel agents and registered with the Travel Industry Council who are unfit to receive vaccination because of health reasons must submit a declaration form and present a medical certificate to the employer, and undergo a nucleic acid test using combined nasal and throat swabs every seven days / within seven days prior to receiving the relevant group tours. Staff of catering businesses operating under Type B Mode of Operation also have to undergo a nucleic acid test using combined nasal and throat swabs every 14 days (or as alternative, complete a COVID-19 vaccination course). In other words, the above staff cannot use specimen collection packs to self-collect deep throat saliva specimens.

1b. Persons arriving at Hong Kong and subject to compulsory testing

  • Regarding the boarding, quarantine and testing arrangements for persons arriving at Hong Kong, refer to this Concise Guide
  • They can undergo testing in Community Testing Centres (CTCs)
  • Or they can obtain a deep throat saliva (DTS) specimen collection pack from any of the designated distribution points, and return the specimen to one of the designated collection points (Note: except inbound travellers who have stayed in Group A1 or A2 places in the relevant period, who can only undergo testing at CTCs)

2. Individuals who experiences symptoms of COVID-19 (even if having mild symptoms only)

  • They should seek medical advice promptly when feeling unwell (even if having very mild symptoms only) and get tested under the instructions of a healthcare worker. They can proactively make a request to your doctor for testing when there is any suspicion
  • Apart from the accident and emergency departments of public hospitals and GOPCs, you may also visit private clinics and hospitals. The Government provides free testing of COVID-19 for private doctors
  • They should not attend the mobile specimen collection stations or Community Testing Centres (CTCs)

3. Individuals who perceive themselves as having a higher risk of exposure and who do not experience any symptoms

  • They can obtain a deep throat saliva (DTS) specimen collection pack from any of the designated distribution points, and return the specimen to one of the designated collection points
  • Or they can undergo self-paid testing in Community Testing Centres (CTCs)
  • Or they can undergo free-of-charge testing in mobile specimen collection stations (the ones with service scope covering “All members of the public”)
  • Or they can self-arrange testing provided by private laboratories

4. Other individuals

  • For general private use (such as for travelling abroad or working), they can undergo self-paid testing service in Community Testing Centres (CTCs)
  • Or they can undergo free-of-charge testing in mobile specimen collection stations (the ones with service scope covering “All members of the public”)
  • Or they can self-arrange testing provided by private laboratories

Distribution points of DTS specimen collection packs

Collection points for submitting specimens

Additional notes

In general, respiratory specimens such as deep throat saliva, combined throat and nasal swab and nasopharyngeal specimens are the specimen types of choice for diagnosing COVID-19 infection. Stool specimen may be used as an alternative for testing when collecting respiratory specimen is not feasible for children under 3 years old and those who are not suitable for respiratory specimen collection. Those who required stool specimen testing could obtain collection kits from the respective parties (including private doctors).

If a residential building is put under compulsory testing notice, stool specimen collection packs will be available for persons in need in relevant building or CTCs / mobile specimen collection stations. If a Child Care Centre / Kindergarten is put under compulsory testing notice, the Centre for Health Protection may also according to needs provide stool specimen collection packs. Any enquiries on compulsory testing arrangements (including how to obtain stool specimen collection packs) may be addressed to the hotline at 6275 6901.

Regarding general out-patient clinic services for Tuen Ng Festival, please refer to this press release).

How to self-collect and return the specimen

Specimen collection

Returning the specimen

You may return the specimen by yourself (except persons who are under quarantine) or family members/relatives/friends to one of the designated collection clinics of the Hospital Authority, clinics of DH or government premises on the same day of specimen collection. You may also choose to use door-to-door specimen collection service at a charge.

Door-to-door specimen collection service

  • GOGOVAN (enquiry phone number: 5681 4989)
  • Pickupp (enquiry email: hk@pickupp.io)
  • Toby (enquiry phone number: 3703 3250)

Note: Charged door-to-door specimen collection service is not applicable to persons undergoing compulsory quarantine at the Desginated Quarantine Hotel. Please note that all post offices will NOT collect specimens. Please do NOT send specimens by postal mail.

If the test result is negative

CTCs and mobile specimen collection stations

For individuals undergoing self-paid testing service in CTCs, if the test result is negative, they will generally receive a test result notification from the institution within 24-48 hours.

For individuals undergoing free-of-charge testing service in CTCs or mobile specimen collection stations (for example those subject to compulsory testing or in targeted groups) will also receive SMS notification of their test results.

Self-collection of DTS specimens

Generally speaking, if you do not receive any notification within 3 days after submitting the specimen, it means the test is negative. If there are barcodes on the specimen bottle and request form, normally speaking, you will receive an SMS notification within 3 days.

If the test is referred by private medical practitioners, you may contact them for enquiries.

If the test result is positive

If a sample tests positive, the DH will arrange for admission to a public hospital for treatment as soon as possible. Quarantine will be arranged for close contacts while medical surveillance will be arranged for 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 own personal necessities, such as clothes and daily medications.

For details, you may refer to:

Management of COVID-19

Many of the symptoms can be treated and supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.

The most important thing is to seek medical advice immediately and get testing done whenever symptomatic (even if having very mild symptoms).

About rapid antigen test for COVID-19

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. Notwithstanding its limitations, rapid antigen tests may play a role in facilitating access to testing and earlier diagnosis in some people. Click here to read more about relevant FAQs.


Useful links

COVID-19 Testing Service for Targeted Groups

Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons

Primary Care Directory

TV Announcement

Infographic

Poster