Xiao Fangzhen, a member of nucleic acid testing support team from Fujian Province, receives an interview in Hong Kong, south China, Sept. 8, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Gang)
Hong Kong's Fire Eye Laboratory located at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Sports Center has been busy, with boxes of COVID-19 testing samples being sent in continually since the universal screening was launched in Hong Kong on Sept. 1.
Hundreds of mainland nucleic acid testing support team members are on duty in the laboratory, working 24 hours a day to carry out their respective duties. They raced against time to push forward with the virus testing work.
"Every post in the laboratory is closely linked and indispensable," said Yu Dewen, leader of the nucleic acid testing team from Guangdong province.
At the request of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, the central government set up a nucleic acid testing team to help Hong Kong in the Universal Community Testing Program to enhance the COVID-19 testing capacity.
Since Aug. 2, more than 570 members of the nucleic acid testing team from the mainland have arrived in Hong Kong for the lab testing work.
As the team members work long hours every day, diapers became a necessity. "To save time, we try not to go to the toilet," Xiao Fangzhen, a member of the support team, said that wearing diapers allowed them to work in the laboratory for 12 hours non-stop.
Every time the team members enter the laboratory, they must change a new set of protective equipment, including conjoined protective clothing, goggles, N95 masks and double gloves.
Food and drinks sent to the laboratory for the support team members by the HKSAR government were left untouched.
Xiao explained that team members usually had their meal before starting working and tried not to eat during the course of work. "We wanted to finish work as soon as possible to curb the epidemic, so as to allow Hong Kong residents to live a mask-free life."
Many of the support team members had insomnia and other sleeping problems after being on night shifts for several days. Cai Yonglin, another team member, said that many of them did not have time to rest after arriving in Hong Kong and went straight to work in the laboratory after attending the training session.
When Cai learnt that the support team's efforts and effectiveness have been highly appreciated by Hong Kong residents, he was determined to work harder to help find out silent carriers of the virus.
"The sooner we find out the asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, the lower chance they will spread the disease," he said.
"There were four days that we tested more than 200,000 samples, which was satisfactory and had exceeded our expectations," Yu said.
As of Sunday morning, more than 1.67 million samples had been collected under the mass testing program which will last until Sept. 14. Enditem