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COVID-19 Tests in Hong Kong: Where to Go? (UPDATED)

Where to get a COVID-19 test in Hong Kong? How much is it? All the answers.
Last update:
14th June 2022
alea
Reviewed by a licensed advisor
COVID-19 Tests in Hong Kong
COVID-19 Tests in Hong Kong
Where to get a COVID-19 test in Hong Kong? How much is it? All the answers.
Last update: 14th June 2022

There is currently an explosion of information, comments and opinions on COVID-19 on the internet and social media. We believe that on serious topics in general, and on public health matters in particular, it is essential to rely on facts and seek credible, expert information. Our mission at Alea remains to bring you the best information and advice, so you can make the best choices for you and your family.



Where to get tested for COVID-19 in Hong Kong? How much does it cost?

The Alea team has done all the research and kept it up-to-date, so you don't have to. Stay safe and healthy.

For a full guide about COVID-19 testing in Chinese, read here.

中文版的香港新冠病毒檢測服務一覽表請按此

IMPORTANT: We do not provide any COVID-19 tests. If you want to get tested, please contact the COVID-19 testing provider of your choice: their phone numbers and websites are listed below. This guide does not aim to be exhaustive. It is informative only and based on our independent research. No hospital, clinic or company paid any fees or rendered any services in exchange of inclusion in this article. The providers are listed in alphabetical order and do not indicate any preference.

When should I get tested?

You are recommended to get tested if you develop any major COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, tiredness, dry cough. Other minor symptoms to watch out for include shortness of breath, aches, sore throat, diarrhea, nausea and a runny nose.

You should also consider getting tested if you have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

High-risk groups are required by the government to undergo regular PCR testing, they include:

Compulsory COVID-19 testing in Hong Kong

As part of the city's epidemic control strategy, the government requires people who may have been to places with infected cases to undergo compulsory testing.

Who needs to be tested?

The below groups should undergo testing within two days after the issue of the compulsory testing notice.

1. Household members of close contacts

2. Persons who resided or worked in the same building as mutant strain cases^

3. Persons who had been present at Places Visited by Tested Preliminarily Positive Cases/ Tested Positive Cases during the specified date(s) and time period(s)#**

Testing is not mandatory but highly recommended to those who receive COVID-19 exposure notification from the “LeaveHomeSafe” app or SMS notification from the CHP.

^[Official list of buildings resided by COVID-19 cases](https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/CTN_Specified_premises_and_Dates_of_Testing.pdf) #Official list of specified places

Enquiry hotlines:

  • Centre for Health Protection Hotline: 2125 1111 / 2125 1122 (9 am to 8 pm)
  • Home Affairs Department Hotline: 2835 1473 (9 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday except public holidays)
  • Compulsory Testing Hotline: 6275 6901 (9 am to 6 pm)

Testing options

For tests that require a combined sample of nasal and throat swabs

1. Community testing centres (CTCs)

Testing is provided free of charge if ordered by the Department of Health’s compulsory testing notice, otherwise, each test costs HK$240 for traveling, work or other personal purposes.

Booking and walk-in services are available, but priority will be given to those with advance booking via the online system or on-site registration. However, as the demand for testing services has surged recently under the fifth wave, many timeslots may be fully booked and walk-in service may be delayed. The government suggests citizens to consider other time slots or other means for a COVID-19 test.

Test results are available in 24 hours and those who test positive will receive a call from the Department of Health to arrange for quarantine and treatments.

You may dial 6275 6901 to enquire for details and walk-in quotas at testing centres.

2. Mobile specimen collection stations

A number of mobile stations are set up in different districts to serve local residents and workers subject to compulsory testing by providing free testing services. For the addresses and opening hours, please refer to the government’s thematic website here.

To ease the long waiting time, ticketing machines have been set up in some of the locations and citizens may check the real-time queuing status at https://event.thegulu.com/site_list/TESTING_CENTER.

3. Recognized private laboratories

Other than the public routes, you may choose to undergo testing at any of the private laboratories recognized by the Department of Health. The cost can run from HK$300 to $2,000, varying across providers, so be sure to check the pricing and included service items in advance and make an appointment with the provider directly.

See the health insurance section below for questions about insurance coverage.

*Stool specimen collection packs from the Centre of Health Protection are available as an alternative for children below 3 years old and those not suitable for respiratory specimen collection.


For tests that require deep throat saliva sample (as marked in the compulsory testing notice)

1. Specimen collection pack from post offices, MTR stations or HA general outpatient clinics

You may obtain a deep throat saliva specimen collection bottle for free from any of the 120 post offices, vending machines at 20 MTR stations or 47 designated general outpatient clinics (GOPCs) of the Hospital Authority and return the specimen to one of the designated specimen collection points.

2. HA general outpatient clinics

Applicable with instruction from a medical professional of the Hospital Authority.

3. Recognized private laboratories

Other than the public routes, you may choose to undergo testing at any of the private laboratories recognized by the Department of Health. The cost can run from HK$300 to $2,000, varying across providers, so be sure to check the pricing and included service items in advance and make an appointment with the provider directly.

See the health insurance section below for questions about insurance coverage.


People subjected to compulsory testing notice must keep the SMS notification and the relevant medical certificate with the test results for verification by a law enforcement officer. Failure to comply with a compulsory testing notice may result in a fine of HK$10,000 in addition to a compulsory testing order requiring one to undergo testing within a specified time.

Note that the above testing routes are intended for asymptomatic persons. If you experience any symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately. Registered medical practitioners are also entitled to issue compulsory testing direction, upon receiving which one should undergo testing by either:

  1. using the specimen bottle provided to submit a deep throat saliva sample; or
  2. arranging a test at any of the recognized private laboratories.

Compulsory Universal Testing Scheme in March: What we know now

On February 22, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the government's plan to launch the "Compulsory Universal Testing" (CUT) scheme in March. According to the CE, the scheme is expected to "isolate more cases of COVID-19 in the community in order to cut off hidden transmission paths".

In the scheme, all Hong Kong citizens will be required to undergo PCR testing for 3 rounds in total after booking online. Between each test, residents will be given self-test kits to be done at home every day to rule out undetected infections.

However, in a daily press briefing on March 9, Carrie Lam said the mass testing scheme is no longer a priority at the current stage, while the government will proceed with planning and preparation for a “suitable time”.

Arrangements are subject to changes as more details are announced by the government. Stay tuned!

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Government testing scheme for COVID-19

Hong Kong citizens who need to prove their health status could sign up for COVID-19 screening at a cost of HK$240 at government Community Testing Centres. This testing service is also available to persons under compulsory testing and persons in certain targeted groups for free. The scheme has been launched and you can click here for an appointment.

The Hospital Authority (HA) provides specimen collection packs and collects specimens through its 47 general out-patient clinics (GOPCs). Since 28 November 2020, the Government also extends the distribution points for specimen collection packs to the 121 post offices (except mobile post offices).

In addition, the MTR Corporation has set up vending machines at 20 MTR stations for the public to collect COVID-19 specimen collection packs, including Ngau Tau Kok, Kwai Fong, North Point, Tiu Keng Leng, Wong Chuk Hang, Tai Wai, Tai Po Market, Siu Hong, Kowloon, Tsing Yi, Shau Kei Wan, Wan Chai, Sai Ying Pun, Ho Man Tin, Prince Edward, Kai Tak, Wu Kai Sha, Tsuen Wan West, Sheung Shui and Tung Chung stations.

How does COVID-19 testing work?

Two types of COVID-19 tests are available:

- Antigen test (PCR), which detects the presence of COVID-19 in the body. It is a DNA test (also known as PCR) done by swabbing for lower respiratory tract specimens through the nose (also known as an NPS swab) or throat and analyzed in a lab (the CDC recommends the nose swab for more accurate results).

Laboratories compare the genetic material obtained with the genetic code of the virus this test is also known as a PCR test. Results for swab tests will usually take a couple of days but some places offer next-day results. This is the golden standard in Hong Kong as it has high sensitivity and over 97% accuracy.

- Antibody test, which is a blood test looking for evidence of an immunity response to the virus, which suggests current (IGM) or previous (IGG) infection to COVID-19. The blood test is performed in a clinic or hospital and analyzed in a lab. A finger prick blood test is also available to do yourself from home.*

The collected sample of blood will be tested for antibodies fighting COVID-19. Blood tests done in clinics or hospitals can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days but the at-home finger prick tests only take 15 minutes.

The finger prick test (or antibody test) has been neither validated nor standardized and has a high incidence of false positive results when the patient exhibits no symptoms.

*It is important to note that this at-home test cannot be used as the sole basis for diagnosis and that further testing may be required in the event of a positive result. The DNA test (or PCR test) is the only valid test accepted for traveling and other uses to prove you are COVID-free.

Coronavirus testing in public hospitals

There are 43 public hospitals in Hong Kong. To get tested in a public hospital, you will first need to see a doctor at that hospital for a consultation. The consultation fee for public hospitals is HKD180. The doctor you see will determine your eligibility for a test (depending on your symptoms, travel history and any close contact with people who tested positive for COVID-19).

If it is determined that you are eligible, a nasal swab test will be done: this test is free. You will only have to pay HK$180 for the doctor consultation.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) has set up a hotline for any public enquiry about COVID-19: +852 2125 1122. The Hong Kong government has also set up a page with all of the latest local developments.

IMPORTANT: Tests done in the public sector will not carry a health certificate declaring you free of COVID-19 unless you sign up for the New Government Testing Scheme.



DISCOVER OUR TOP READS

  1. Daily COVID-19 News & Cases (updated in REAL-TIME)

  2. Quarantine Hotels in HK - UPDATED (also in Chinese)

  3. COVID-19 Vaccines in HK: Options, Safety & Costs - UPDATED (also in Chinese)


COVID-19 testing in private hospitals

There are 13 private hospitals in Hong Kong. Below are the ones offering COVID-19 tests within their outpatient departments. Tests are done in person unless specified otherwise. Please note that some outpatient clinics may not accept suspected or high-risk cases and prefer sending these patients to the public sector.

PriceProcedureEligibility
Canossa Hospital (Caritas)
(2522 2181)
Nasopharyngeal/ throat swab: $1,320 (include one-time consultation & test result report)Results on the same day not later than 10pm for sample submitted before 12pmNot traveled to a location with active community transmission of COVID-19 in the past 21 days
Evangel Hospital
(2711 5222)
Deep throat saliva test: $850
Nasal test: $1,050 (exclude doctor consultation fee)
Results on the same day for specimen submitted before 10amDoctor determines eligiblity
Gleneagles Hospital
(3153 9000)
Package (consultation + combined nasal and throat swab test + health certificate): $1,450Results on the same day for specimen submitted before 2pm on weekdays

Results on the same day for specimen submitted before 12pm on Saturdays
Doctor determines eligiblity
Hong Kong Adventist Hospital, Stubbs Road
(3651 8808)
Deep throat saliva test: $1,000
Combined nasal and throat swabs: $1,500
Nasopharyngeal swab test: $1,500 (exclude doctor consultation fee)
Results on the same day before 10pm for specimen submitted before 12pm

Results on the next day before 12pm for specimen submitted after 12pm
Doctor determines eligiblity
Hong Kong Baptist Hospital (service temporarily suspended)
(2339 8888)
Nasal swab test / Combined nasal and throat swab test package (consultation + DTS test + test result report): $1,500 (for booking before noon between Mon & Sat, except public holidays)Results ready by around 2 hours after completing the testPeople without symptoms
Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital
(2835 8605)
Package including one-time consultation + nasal and throat swab + test result report: $1,620 (in Island East, Happy Valley, Central or Taikoo)Results on the same day for sample submission before 9:30amNo contact history with confirmed case
Matilda International Hospital
(2849 1500)
Package including consultation + swab test + report: $2,000Results on the same day before 6pm for specimen collected before 9am on weekdays

Results on Sundays before 6pm for specimen collected before 9pm on Saturdays
People without symptoms
Precious Blood Hospital
(3971 9900)
Nasopharyngeal / Combined nasal and throat swab + test report: $630

Doctor consultation + Nasopharyngeal / Combined nasal and throat swab + test report: $1,700
Results within 6-8 hours at the earliestDoctor determines eligiblity
Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospital
(2275 6688)
Deep throat saliva test: $1,000 (exclude doctor consultation fee)
Combined nasal and throat swabs: $1,470
Nasopharyngeal swab test: $1,470
Results 3 hours after sample submissionCannot get tested if you:
– have been in close contact with confirmed case
– traveled within the last 21 days
Union Hospital
(2608 3388)
Deep throat saliva test + report: $1,000 (exclude doctor consultation fee)Results in 4 hours at the earliestDoctor determines eligiblity

*All amounts are in HKD. No responsibility is accepted for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions. It is always best to call ahead to make sure the information is still up-to-date.

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Coronavirus testing in private clinics

Several private clinics offer COVID-19 testing. Here are some of them according to our research.

Note that test results from some private clinics may not be accepted for compulsory testing, but only for traveling and other private purposes.


PriceProcedureEligibility
LifeHub & LifeClinic
(3622 3452)
Acecgt Diagnostic PCR test: $880

Rapid antibody testing: $280
PCR test results in 2 working days

Rapid antibody test results in 15 minutes
No conditions
London Medical Clinic
(2537 6898)
Consultation: $900

Deep throat saliva test: $1,000
Phone consultation

Results in 24-48 hours

Rushed 24 hrs result: extra $300-400
Not travelled out of Hong Kong in the last 21 days

No contact with confirmed case
Marina Medical
(3420 6622)
Consultation: $780

Deep throat saliva test:
Standard: $600
Express: $1,100
Standard: results in 2 working days

Express: results on the same day by 6pm for test submitted before 9:30am
No symptoms

Not travelled out of Hong Kong in the last 14 days
Quality HealthCare
(8301 8301)
(For asymptomatic people who are at risk) real-time PCR test + video consultation: $1,180

(For asymptomatic people who are at risk) real-time PCR test + clinic consultation: $950
Results within 1-2 working daysNo conditions
Trinity Medical Centre
(2197 0122)
Consultation + deep throat saliva test: $620 for next day result / $950 for same day resultConsultation with doctor

Results on the same day before 6pm for specimen submitted before 10am
No conditions

* All amounts are in HKD. No responsibility is accepted for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions. It is always best to call ahead to make sure the information is still up-to-date.

If you have an emergency or need to see a doctor, we've put together a practical guide.

At-home COVID-19 testing in Hong Kong

Rapid antigen testing (RAT) kits in Hong Kong

We have published a detailed explainer about at-home COVID-19 testing kits available in Hong Kong. Be sure to check it out when you are shopping for a self-test kit.

https://alea.care/resources/at-home-covid-19-rapid-test

In-home testing services in Hong Kong

  • Hong Kong home care company Evercare now provides COVID-19 tests performed by a nurse at home or in the office for HK$2,200/person (HK$1,800/person for groups of 5 or above), with results within 1 to 2 days via email (additional HK$500 for same-day results, HK$800 for health certificate + phone consultation and original copy couriered to your home).

  • Instaspecialist also provides tests performed by a nurse at home, after a doctor consultation, with results on the same day.

  • DNA-testing company Prenetics has launched a new initiative called "Project Screen". It offers at-home COVID-19 testing, via a Physician and WHO-recommended RT-PCR lab test. The results will tell you if you are positive or negative for COVID-19, based on validated studies by the National Health Commission and the US FDA.

Want a better insurance experience?

I've tested positive for COVID-19. What now?

If you have taken the test via a doctor, the doctor will inform the Department of Health. If you have tested positive at a Community Testing Centre or mobile testing station, your case will directly be added to the COVID-19 Admission Allocation System by the Department of Health. If a positive result is obtained through a rapid test kit, you should report your result to the Department of Health via their hotline or their online system at https://www.chp.gov.hk/ratp.

More urgent patients will then be taken to a hospital or community quarantine facility for quarantine, while those with mild or no symptoms may be allowed for self-quarantine at home if the living condition is suitable. Anyone you’ve been in close contact with will need to stay at one of the government's three quarantine centers to complete a 14-day quarantine. Family members living in the same unit will be put in the safe flat during quarantine.

Owing to the severe epidemic situation under the Fifth wave, treatment facilities in Hong Kong may not be able to admit all cases who tested positive for COVID-19. The authority has decided to prioritize more urgent cases and patients with higher risks. Meanwhile, as community isolation facilities are inadequate at the moment, people who tested positive or preliminary positive and experience no or mild symptoms should remain calm and keep monitoring their physical condition waiting for admission at home. If your living environment permits, stay in your own room and avoid contact with anyone else. Wear a mask if you have to leave your room and practice strict hygiene measures at all times.

You may call the Hospital Authority's hotline at 1836 115 from 8am to 10pm on any day for medical information and infection control advice. Seek medical attention if your symptoms worsen. 

Does health insurance cover COVID-19 testing in Hong Kong?

According to our team's research, pandemics (e.g. COVID-19) are usually covered.

If you want to get tested, most insurers will cover you if you meet the following conditions:

  • you have an outpatient cover and a Registered Medical Practitioner must have found that you have shown relevant clinical signs and symptoms; or
  • you have check-up cover and you claim covid-19 testing under that cover.
  • In either case, you must have entered your health insurance plan before you had symptoms (this term is usually applicable to individual plans instead of corporate plans).

If you have questions regarding health insurance, talk to an advisor at Alea.

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This article was independently written by Alea and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and should never be relied upon for specific advice.