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Hong Kong may test entire population for COVID after Xi's order

People who refuse may be hit with NT$35,657 fine

Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong. (AFP photo)

Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong. (AFP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Hong Kong is planning mass testing for the entire territory as its government scrambles to try new measures to halt the current outbreak of COVID-19 by any means necessary.

Authorities are mulling over whether to make the test compulsory and enforce a US$1,280 (NT$35,657) penalty on individuals who resist getting screened. The all-out testing campaign is poised to begin early next month, with vaccination vans to be converted into testing centers and Chinese experts from the mainland entering to assist in directing the operation, per a Bloomberg report.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) ordered the city to take “all necessary measures” to contain the current outbreak. China continues to cling to its zero-tolerance policy while most parts of the world are adjusting to co-exist with the virus.

Currently, Hong Kong demands all positive cases must be isolated. On Thursday (Feb. 17) it announced 6,116 new infections in just one day.

The requirement to isolate all of those who are infected is straining the city’s medical system, per Bloomberg. Overrun facilities have forced elderly patients to pitch makeshift tents outside the entrances of hospitals.

The territory’s government has requested property developers make thousands of hotel rooms available to house positive cases, per sources. It is unknown how many more will be needed as mandatory testing comes online in the city of 7.5 million people.