HK's inflatable COVID-19 testing lab, built by mainland professionals, helps city combat latest wave of infections

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/13 17:03:40

Aerial view of Hong Kong's Fire Eye laboratory Photo: cnsphoto

Hundreds of mainland nucleic acid testing professionals are conducting large-scale testing for COVID-19 at Hong Kong's Fire Eye Laboratory at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Sports Center. The effort falls under the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government's Universal Community Testing Program (UCT Program) launched on September 1.

The UCT Program is set to conclude on Monday. As of Saturday, a total of 1.66 million people, or 22.2 percent of Hong Kong residents, have been sampled, with 32 positive cases found. 

The Hong Kong local government urged residents, especially foreign domestic workers and students, who have not yet participated in the universal test to not miss the opportunity before the program ends on Monday.

In Chinese folklore, the piercing fire eyes enable Monkey King to see through all disguises of monsters. 

The Fire Eye labs developed by BGI, taking the name, have been used worldwide for large-scale nucleic acid testing without manual intervention, according to the Xinhua News Agency. 

The laboratory, consisting of 16 air-inflated film chambers, is divided into three areas. The chambers are arranged in accordance with the testing process, and the route of sample flow is strictly regulated, Xinhua reported.

The laboratory also meets the requirements of a Biosafety Level 2 laboratory, and has implemented relevant infection control measures to ensure hygiene and effective waste management without the emission of harmful gases.

The central government set up a nucleic acid testing team to help Hong Kong combat the epidemic at the request of the HKSAR government. The laboratory enhances Hong Kong's testing capacity, raising the capacity from 300,000 to 500,000 per day. 

During his visit to the Fire Eye Laboratory on Sunday, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Chief Secretary for Administration of the HKSAR, thanked the assisting team from the mainland for their efforts ensuring the public availability of the test results within the fastest possible time.

The government is expected to launch a new round of the Anti-epidemic Fund in late September to support some industries and individuals directly affected by social distancing measures. 

According to the local health department, there have been 4,938 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hong Kong as of Saturday, of which 4,613 have been discharged from hospital and 100 have died.

Global Times

Mainland support team members wear protective clothing and get ready for duty. Photo: cnsphoto

A medical worker sends samples with negative test results to the "autoclave" to be destroyed. Photo: cnsphoto


Medical staff rest during the break before their next shift. Photo: cnsphoto

A batch of samples from community testing centers are sent to the laboratory. Photo: cnsphoto


Newspaper headline: Fire Eye

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