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Jab service expands to mall

The Government’s outreach team for the first time, set up a temporary vaccination area to provide a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination service at a shopping mall in Kwun Tong today.   Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip inspected its operation and presented prizes to winners of a lucky draw which was held to encourage the public to get vaccinated. He thanked the shopping mall for providing the venue and for joining the Government in promoting the vaccination campaign.   “This is the first time that our outreach service team has provided a COVID-19 vaccination walk-in service at a shopping mall to allow people who wanted to get vaccinated to do so immediately without prior booking.”   He noted that as the Government has started giving out consumption vouchers, citizens may use them at shopping centres.   “I hope that while they go shopping, they can also realise the importance and urgency of getting vaccinated,” he added.   Almost 300 people including shopping mall and offic

Virus testing abnormality probed

The Government said it is extremely concerned about the abnormality in the preliminary positive results of COVID-19 testing conducted by a testing service provider and has taken resolute actions to follow up on the incident.   The incident involves 30 cases that were initially confirmed by private laboratory BGI as 29 preliminary positive cases and one indeterminate case. The test results from these specimens collected on April 20 showed that the viral load of the specimens was low.   The specimens were sent to the Public Health Laboratory Service Branch (PHLSB) of the Department of Health for confirmation tests in accordance with the established practice.   Among these 30 preliminary positive cases, 21 were local ones from multiple districts in Hong Kong with no clustered pattern or epidemiological linkage. As some of the patients admitted to the Hospital Authority for isolation subsequently tested negative for virus and serology tests, there is a possibility these people have not contracted the virus at all.   The same service provider is involved in two confirmed cases announced earlier by the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) in which the people returned from the Mainland in early April, and a preliminary positive case announced on April 17 that involved a kindergarten teacher who was tested with an indeterminate result by the PHLSB upon the confirmation test. They were tested again with negative results after admission to hospitals and also tested negative for the antibody test.   The CHP found the situation to be abnormal and has invited a member of the Government's Expert Advisory Panel Prof Yuen Kwok-yung and his team from the University of Hong Kong to inspect the laboratory concerned.   As there is a high possibility the aforementioned cases are false positives, if the affected people test negative during isolation and test negative for antibodies to COVID-19, they will be discharged from the hospital. Close contacts of these cases who were sent to quarantine facilities will be allowed to leave if they test negative.   To safeguard the quality of community testing results, the CHP and the PHLSB will conduct an investigation on the concerned private laboratory. The incident mainly involved specimens collected from community testing centres in Siu Lun Community Hall and Ngau Tau Kok Road Sports Centre, mobile specimen collection stations in Yau Oi Estate in Tuen Mun and Sha Tsui Road Playground on April 20, and specimens collected at a quarantine hotel.   The investigation will cover the infection control of the laboratory and the specimen collection stations it operates, the test accuracy of the laboratory, and other relevant factors.   The Government said that if the medical laboratory and its professional personnel are found to have violated relevant professional codes, it will report the case to the Medical Laboratory Technologists Board for follow-up actions.   If the quality of service of the concerned testing service provider is found to be unsatisfactory, the service provider will be required to submit a report making improvement suggestions and follow up on the improvement measures.   The Government said it will consider appropriate punishment based on the severity of the incident in accordance with the terms and conditions of the service contract.
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