The coronavirus pandemic continues to gain momentum in Hong Kong. On December 7, the city confirmed 95 more infections taking the cumulative number of cases to 6,976 as the total number of deaths stood at 112. Given the increase in infections, the authorities have warned of the possible worsening of the pandemic with the arrival of the Christmas holidays. China's autonomous territory has decided to take measures to avoid new Covid-19 infections by offering free coronavirus tests in vending machines of the Hong Kong Metro (MTR) starting on December 7. The city's metro has installed vending machines with tests for the coronavirus with limited units.
Free tests available in several stations
The MTR stated anyone who wants a Covid-19 test can get a complimentary collection pack with their Octopus card at 10 MTR stations. These tests will be installed 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. Every day around 10,000 packages will be distributed evenly among the machines in the different metro stations. This service will be limited as only a user will be able to pick up one package per person thanks to the Octopus card, which will have no cost. The stations will only be responsible for the distribution of packages, and individuals will have to deliver the samples to a government clinic.
Mobile application to check availability
A mobile application will show whether the stations have packages or out of stock. Anyone with symptoms or who has had contact with a Covid patient will not be able to use the service and must attend the hospital directly.
The Government Increases Coronavirus-relate Fines
The Hong Kong government declared that the penalties for breaching coronavirus social-distancing rules will be increased from HK$2,000 to HK$5,000 on December 11. The higher fines will be applied to those who violate the rules governing group gatherings, mandatory mask-wearing and quarantine requirements as well as compulsory testing notices.