Citizens receive COVID-19 testing at a mobile testing station in a park in Hong Kong, south China, Feb 10, 2022. (LO PING FAI / XINHUA)
HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government announced on Saturday that throat swab samples will be collected for free COVID-19 nucleic acid tests starting Tuesday to help enhance the efficiency of testing services, replacing the current practice of collecting “nasal and throat” swab specimens.
In a statement issued on Saturday night, the government said throat swab samples will be collected for PCR tests at community testing centers, community testing stations, ad-hoc specimen collection stations as well as inbound testing stations at the airport.
Trained personnel assigned by the service providers will observe during sample collection to ensure the specimen quality
"Switching to using 'throat swab' to collect upper respiratory tract specimen for nucleic acid test can also achieve high sensitivity,” a government spokesman was quoted as saying in the statement.
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He said a throat swab sample is one of the recommended upper respiratory tract specimens listed in the 9th edition of the Protocol for Prevention and Control of COVID-19 published by the National Health Commission and frequently used in the Chinese mainland for large-scale nucleic acid testing.
Trained personnel assigned by the service providers will observe during sample collection to ensure the specimen quality.
The collection of throat swab samples by trained personnel can attain reliable sensitivity, reduce the duration taken for sample collection and streamline the specimen collection procedures, according to the statement.
The adjustment is conducive to enhancing the overall efficiency and boosting the capacity of testing services, while not affecting nucleic acid tests' accuracy, it added.
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