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Asymptomatic Testing for Covid-19

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Dear Department of Health,

Given that the WHO no longer recommends the testing of asymptomatic persons, may I ask why asymptomatic testing is mandated at the airport and in various other sectors of society?

Please see link below.

https://apps.who.int/iris/rest/bitstream...

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

Dear Allyson van de Pol,

Your email dated 16 August 2021 is received.

Please be advised that the requested information is under the purview of
the Food and Health Bureau ("FHB").   Subject to your consent, we will
refer your case to FHB for direct reply.  Grateful for your consent by
replying to this email by 25 August 2021 (Wednesday).  Thank you

If you have any enquiry, please contact Ms Sophy KWOK, Executive
Officer(Personnel)3 at 3107 2593.  Thank you.

Regards,

(Ms Sophy KWOK)
for Director of Health

顯示引用部分

Dear Department of Health,

No problem, thank you!

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

Dear Allyson van de Pol,

Thank you for your reply.  Please be informed that your request has been
referred to Food and Health Bureau and they will reply to you directly.
The Access to Information Officers of Food and Health Bureau can be
reached by the following means -

Telephone No:         (852) 3509 8765
Fax No:         (852) 2541 3352  
Email Address:  [email address]
Administration Unit
Food and Health Bureau
Address:         18/F, East Wing,
Central Government Offices,
2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar,
Hong Kong

Thank you.

Regards,
Ms Sophy KWOK
(for Director of Health)

顯示引用部分

Dear Allyson van de Pol,
 
The Food and Health Bureau (FHB) received your application under the Code
on Access to Information on 23 August 2021.
 
Testing has been an integral part of the Government’s strategy in
preventing and fighting the virus.  The Government regularly reviews
whether certain targeted groups, such as high-risk and high-exposure
groups and essential staff of critical infrastructure and services, should
undergo regular testing based on the latest epidemic risk assessment.  
This is not contrary to WHO’s position on preventing and mitigation
COVID-19 at workplace outside healthcare facilities.  
 
As the global situation of COVID-19 infection remains severe and there is
a continuous increase in the number of cases involving mutant strains that
carry higher transmissibility, there are also reports of breakthrough
infections in some vaccinated individuals who are asymptomatic.  In the
light of multiple and continuous cases involving the L452R mutant strain
detected in Hong Kong recently, and taking into account the high
transmissibility of mutant strains, we consider it necessary to extend the
relevant testing arrangements such that we can take effective measures
against the cases immediately to cut off hidden transmission chains as
quickly as possible.  By identifying, isolating and providing medical
treatment to the asymptomatic patients, we can safeguard the health of
their families and friends, and bring down the risk of secondary and
tertiary infection in the community.  This is in fact in line with WHO’s
stance that policies aimed at protecting workers serve to help prevent
community transmission of the virus and protect the economy by maintaining
open and safe workplaces.
 
The Government will also continue to require staff of targeted groups to
receive vaccination as soon as possible, while at the same time strengthen
the testing arrangements for staff who have yet to complete a vaccination
course.  In view of the protection brought by the vaccination, fully
vaccinated staff will in general no longer be required to undergo regular
or such frequent testing.  The Government calls on the public to treasure
the vaccine supply in Hong Kong and get vaccinated as soon as possible.
 
(Mr Alba AU)
Food and Health Bureau
From:        Allyson van de Pol
<[1][FOI #717 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Department of Health <[2][Department of Health request email]>
Date:        16/08/2021 15:25
Subject:        Freedom of Information request - Asymptomatic Testing for
Covid-19

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Dear Department of Health,

Given that the WHO no longer recommends the testing of asymptomatic
persons, may I ask why asymptomatic testing is mandated at the airport and
in various other sectors of society?

Please see link below.
[3]https://apps.who.int/iris/rest/bitstream...

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

-------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a request under the Code of Access to Information facilitated via
the accessinfo.hk website.

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[4][FOI #717 email]

Is [5][Department of Health request email] the wrong address for Freedom of Information
requests to Department of Health? If so, please contact us using this
form:
[6]https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[7]https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[FOI #717 email]
2. mailto:[Department of Health request email]
3. https://apps.who.int/iris/rest/bitstream...
4. mailto:[FOI #717 email]
5. mailto:[Department of Health request email]
6. https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...
7. https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

Dear Department of Health,

Thanks for your reply.

May I bring your attention to the key points in the afore attached WHO document

"Testing of asymptomatic individuals with NAAT or Ag-RDTs is currently recommended only for specific groups including contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases and frequently exposed groups such as health care workers and long-term care facility workers.
• Widespread screening of asymptomatic individuals is not a currently recommended strategy due to the significant costs associated with it and the lack of data on its operational effectiveness."

Teachers, F&B workers returnees from overseas, locked down tenants etc do not fit into the above categories, so why are they still being habitually tested, contravening the WHO's recommendations?

Please advise how you consider the situation to be 'severe' in Hong Kong? How many deaths from Covid 19 have we had during 2021?

Indeed, RT-PCR testing has been proven to be ineffective with high false positive rates, and 'leaky' vaccines, showing breakthrough cases, especially of the Delta variant (I understand that nearly all recent 'cases' were from vaccinated individuals), can you therefore please advise the thought process and protocol to test as many people as possible and to vaccinate as many people as possible and why these strategies are effective?

Many thanks

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

I am out of the office from 25/08/2021 14:30 until 25/08/2021 17:30.

For urgent matters, please contactMiss Jackie LAM, CO(Per)4 at 3107 2571 /
&DH/CO[Per]4.

Note: This is an automated response to your message "Internal review of
Freedom of Information request - Asymptomatic Testing for Covid-19" sent on
25.08.2021 03:22:20 PM.

This is the only notification you will receive while this person is away.

Dear Allyson van de Pol,

Your email dated 25 August 2021 is received.

We noted that your request for internal review is related to a reply made
by Food and Health Bureau ("FHB") earlier.  Subject to your consent, we
will refer your request to FHB for direct reply.  Grateful for your
consent by replying to this email by 27 August 2021 (Friday).  Thank you

If you have any enquiry, please contact Ms Sophy KWOK, Executive
Officer(Personnel)3 at 3107 2593.  Thank you.

Regards,

(Ms Sophy KWOK)
for Director of Health

顯示引用部分

Dear Department of Health,

Your response is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, you should have responded by now.

Please reply ASAP.

Thank you!

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

I am out of the office until 08/12/2021.

For urgent matters, please contact Miss Jackie LAM, CO(Per)4 at 3107 2571 /
&DH/CO[Per]4.

Note: This is an automated response to your message "Internal review of
Freedom of Information request - Asymptomatic Testing for Covid-19" sent on
15.09.2021 03:01:32 PM.

This is the only notification you will receive while this person is away.

Dear Allyson van de Pol,

Preceding email (dated 1 September 2021 from Ms Sophy KWOK) refers, I
should be grateful to have your consent for referral of your application
to Food and Health Bureau for direct handling.

In addition, I have attached below the Delivery Failure Report dated 1
September 2021 for your reference.  Thank you.

Regards,
(Miss Cheyenne LEE)
for Director of Health

顯示引用部分

Dear Department of Health,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Health's handling of my FOI request 'Asymptomatic Testing for Covid-19'.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://accessinfo.hk/en/request/asympto...

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

Dear Allyson van de Pol,

I refer to my preceding email dated 15 September 2021 regarding the
subject matter, please note your consent is requested for the referral of
your application to Food and Health Bureau for direct handling.  

Grateful for your consent by replying to this email by 30 September 2021.
 Thank you.

Should you have any further queries, please contact the undersigned at
3107 2593.

(Miss Cheyenne LEE)

for Director of Health

顯示引用部分

Disclaimer : This e-mail message (together with any attachments) is for
the designated recipient only.  It may contain information that is
privileged for the designated recipient.  If you are not the intended
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copying, printing, forwarding or dissemination of the message is strictly
prohibited.  If you have received the message in error, please erase all
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the sender immediately.

__________________

From:        Allyson van de Pol <[FOI #717 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Department of Health <[Department of Health request email]>
Date:        15/09/2021 15:05
Subject:        Internal review of Freedom of Information request -
Asymptomatic Testing for Covid-19

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Department of Health,

Your response is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, you should
have responded by now.

Please reply ASAP.

Thank you!

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

顯示引用部分

Dear Allyson van de Pol,
Refer to my preceding email dated 28 September 2021, our department has
received your request for information under the Code on Access to
Information ("the Code") dated 25 August 2021.

The information requested is not in the possession of Department of Health
but is held by Food and Health Bureau.  

I would like to seek your written consent for transferring your request to
the Food and Health Bureau for direct handling.  Please reply by 20
October 2021.  If we do not hear from you by the aforesaid date, we will
be unable to process your request.
Should you have any further queries, please contact the undersigned at
3107 2593.
 

(Miss Cheyenne LEE)

for Director of Health

顯示引用部分

Disclaimer : This e-mail message (together with any attachments) is for
the designated recipient only.  It may contain information that is
privileged for the designated recipient.  If you are not the intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, retention, disclosure,
copying, printing, forwarding or dissemination of the message is strictly
prohibited.  If you have received the message in error, please erase all
copies of the message (including attachments) from you system and notify
the sender immediately.

Delivery Failure Report

Your Re: Internal review of Freedom of Information request -
message: Asymptomatic Testing for Covid-19
was not
delivered [FOI #717 email]
to:
because: 5.4.7 - Delivery expired (message too old) '[Errno 61]
Connection refused' (delivery attempts: 0)

What should you do?

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above by choosing the Resend button or the Resend command on the
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successfully delivered to all other recipients.

GCNSMTP03B/SERVERS/GCNDMZ/HKSARG, GCNSMTP03B/SERVERS/GCNDMZ/HKSARG,
MRGCN02B/SERVERS/GCN-NOTES/HKSARG, SDGCN14N/SERVERS/GCN-NOTES/HKSARG,
HUDH31N/SERVERS/DH/HKSARG, CMDH31N/SERVERS/DH/HKSARG

To:  Allyson van de Pol <[FOI #717 email]>
cc:    Francis_YM_CHING/DH/[email protected]_Address_Not_For_Reply_From_Internet
Date:  01/09/2021 17:22:01
Subject:  Re: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Asymptomatic Testing
for Covid-19

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

From:        Sophy KK KWOK/DH/HKSARG
To:        Allyson van de Pol <[FOI #717 email]>
Cc:        Francis YM CHING/DH/[email protected]
Date:        01/09/2021 17:22
Subject:        Re: Internal review of Freedom of Information request -
Asymptomatic Testing for Covid-19

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Allyson van de Pol,

I refer to my preceding email dated 25 August 2021.

Grateful if you would give us your consent for referral of your
application to Food and Health Bureau for direct handling.  Thank you.

Regards,
(Ms Sophy KWOK)
for Director of Health
___________________________________
Disclaimer : This e-mail message (together with any attachments) is for
the designated recipient only.  It may contain information that is
privileged for the designated recipient.  If you are not the intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, retention, disclosure,
copying, printing, forwarding or dissemination of the message is strictly
prohibited.  If you have received the message in error, please erase all
copies of the message (including attachments) from you system and notify
the sender immediately.

__________________

From:        Allyson van de Pol <[FOI #717 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Department of Health <[Department of Health request email]>
Date:        15/09/2021 15:05
Subject:        Internal review of Freedom of Information request -
Asymptomatic Testing for Covid-19

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Department of Health,

Your response is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, you should
have responded by now.

Please reply ASAP.

Thank you!

Yours faithfully,

Allyson van de Pol

顯示引用部分

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Allyson van de Pol please sign in and let everyone know.