Rapid test requirement for bar-goers will have limited effect on transmission, says Ho Pak-leung

A health expert on Wednesday noted that authorities' latest measure requiring people to present a negative rapid test result taken within 24 hours before entering bars and nightclubs will have no obvious effect in stamping out the city’s latest outbreak.

The measure was revealed by Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee on Tuesday, who said it was needed following the emergence of multiple Covid clusters in bars.

On the rule for people to be negative within 24 hours of going into bars from tomorrow - a measure that runs to June 29 - people must present a photograph of a test result. They must also write their names on the test kit and the date and time the test was taken.

Speaking on a radio program this morning, Ho said there was no evidence showing that the cases from the bar clusters have spread further with second- or third-generation transmissions.

The latest measure will have limited effect in slowing down the number of infections in the city each day, he commented.

The Hong Kong University microbiologist also said it would be hard for bar operators to verify patrons’ rapid test results.

He called on the government to establish a new online platform for bar-goers to upload their negative test results, or to set up designated rapid test sites for citizens to undergo Covid tests to ensure their results were valid.