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Low Uptake

Hong Kong has launched a free COVID-19 testing program, but turnout has been low among residents in part due to concerns that their DNA would be collected, BBC News reports.

According to the Washington Post, Hong Kong's chief executive, Carrie Lam, has urged all 7.5 million residents there to undergo testing, but that only about 650,000 people have signed up. The reluctance is in part due to the lack of trust between Hong Kong's leaders and residents, it adds. Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong tells BBC News that the program "fuels more concerns that the plan is a large-scale DNA collection." Lam says, according to the Washington Post, that people who were wary of the testing effort were attempting to "damage the relationship" between Hong Kong and Beijing.

In addition, medical and public health personnel have criticized the program's strategy, which is focusing on asymptomatic people, since Hong Kong has a low rate of new infections, the Washington Post adds. "If you are testing random people on the street, with no history of disease, you are going to get false positives," the National University of Singapore's Dale Fisher tells it.

The South China Morning Post reports that 82,000 people underwent testing on the program's first day.