Hong Kong is working diligently to make it as simple as possible for people to test for COVID-19 as they go around their days using public transportation. In developing procedures to address this important effort, MTR Corporation in Hong Kong has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and fighting the virus right next to the community.
To facilitate the government’s improved laboratory monitoring program for the public with convenient access to the COVID-19 test service, vending machines were set up earlier this month at 10 MTR stations delivering COVID-19 test kits. After communication with relevant government departments, the 10 stations across the MTR network were identified to provide this convenient form of testing at: Ngau Tau Kok, Kwai Fong, North Point, Tiu Keng Leng, Wong Chuk Hang, Tai Wai, Tai Po Market , Siu Hong, Kowloon and Tsing Yi stations.
Approximately 10,000 COVID-19 test kits per day are supplied by a government contractor and distributed evenly to the vending machines at these stations. Each station has a fixed supply every day and each person can collect a set as long as stock lasts. Judging by the first day of demand, this pilot program is a huge success, as the first 10,000 sets were sold out on day one.
Public members can collect a set for free by scanning their Octopus transit cards at the stations during business hours. “Traffic News” from MTR Mobile provides information on the delivery of COVID-19 test kits, including whether stations are sold out or kits are still available.
How does it work?
Saliva samples are collected by the kits and must be returned to designated government-run collection points for processing. No appointments needed, just go straight up to the vending machine to get your test kit.
In the fight against the pandemic, the MTR communicates with relevant government departments and appropriately adjusts the arrangements for distribution points based on actual requirements to facilitate government action.
Signage has been put up at the relevant stations to remind the public of the vending machine locations, and MTR has deployed extra manpower to help maintain order around the vending machines.
The MTR encourages the public to collect COVID-19 test kits to maintain social distance and personal hygiene. Cleaning and disinfection of the stations has also been improved given the extra flow of people.
Help the government help you
The MTR reminds those who have symptoms or have had contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19 that according to the hospital authority’s advice they should visit the accident and emergency departments of public hospitals or general outpatient clinics as soon as possible to get medical advice and tests arranged by hospitals instead of collecting sample collection packages for testing.
Public members should note that MTR stations only distribute test kits. The public should return test kits to the 47 general outpatient clinics of the Hospital Authority or 13 clinics of the Department of Health. More information can be found on this government website: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/early-testing.html