Header image courtesy of Edward Jenner (Pexels)
As the city faces its third wave of COVID-19, with cases surpassing one hundred infections on a daily basis, many are rushing to get tested for the virus. However, though the “what” and “why” of COVID-19 is clear in the public’s minds, the “how” and “where”—not as much. Rather than piece together decentralised bits of information on Google, we’ve done the work for you. Read on to learn about the different methods of testing for COVID-19, where you can get tested in Hong Kong, and the difference between testing in public hospitals and private clinics. Keep this convenient guide bookmarked for future use.
While COVID-19 affects everyone differently, the most telling symptoms are fever, tiredness, and a dry cough. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, a sore throat, diarrhoea, nausea, and a runny nose. Read here for a full breakdown. Those who’ve had close contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases should also get tested, such as family members who live in the same household, or if you’ve talked to a recently confirmed case with masks off.
One more reason why you may need to go tested is if you’re travelling abroad, as you may be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival. Public sector testing does not issue these health certificates, so you’d need to go to private hospitals and clinic for them. If you qualify for none of the criteria above, it’s best to stay at home to stay safe and save money, but also because testing capacity is quite overwhelmed at the moment.
The PCR test—short for polymerase chain reaction—is a highly accurate antigen test that checks for genetic traces of the virus in a sample of your own genetic material. Your DNA sample is obtained in the clinic via a nasal swab, or through a deep throat saliva sample you can do at home before sending the bottle to a lab for analysis. This is the most common and reliable testing method in Hong Kong and it can take one to three days to hear back about your result.
The blood test measures the number of antibodies in your blood, based on the principle that if you’ve been infected with the virus, your body would have developed antibodies to combat it. Patients’ blood is taken from their veins or by pricking their fingers. Some private hospitals and clinics offer this option, but it is less common than the PCR test.
There are four categories of places you can go to for COVID-19 tests: in the public sector, you can choose from a public hospital or a general clinic, and in the private sector, you can go to a private hospital or a private clinic. The public sector may have longer wait times and might be riskier because of the high demand and how crowded it can get, but it’s guaranteed to be cheaper.
The private sector, on the other hand, may be able to provide quicker results and may fall under your insurance plan (check with your insurance provider). However, its services are costlier, and many don’t take high-risk patients such as those who’ve travelled outside Hong Kong over the past 14 days or those who are close contacts with confirmed cases. If you’re looking for a health certificate to prove that you’ve tested negative for travel or other purposes, you must go to the private sector too as public sector hospitals and clinics would not issue them.
That being said, we’ve broken each of the four places down for your reference.
You can visit the Accident & Emergency department of any one of these 18 public hospitals, pay the customary $180 consultation fee, and get tested if the doctor determines you’re eligible. The test itself will be free, a nasal swab test will be conducted on the spot, though some choose to stay away from public hospitals because of the long queues, and because their condition doesn’t warrant emergency treatment.
The most affordable option would be to make an appointment at one of the many general out-patient clinics in Hong Kong, which are all run by the government. Patients only need to pay $50 for a general consultation, deep throat test included. Most have limited hours during the weekends, however, and could be quite full for booking, so plan accordingly.
Appointments can be arranged with a phone call at most private hospitals, while some only accept online bookings. Patients who test positive will be reported to the Department of Health per the government’s orders, and transferred to a public hospital for further treatment.
(+852) 2522 2181
Not travelled outside Hong Kong in the last 14 days
Nasal swab or deep throat test. Results available the next day
|$1,500 (for test; excludes consultation fee, sample collection fee)|
(+852) 3153 9000
Wong Chuk Hang
|No symptoms; overseas travel history||Online booking|
Package price for consultation, deep throat test, and test report. Results available the next day
(+852) 3651 8808
|Not travelled outside Hong Kong in the last 14 days||Nasal swab or deep throat test. Results available the next day||Consultation:|
(for close contacts of a confirmed case)
Deep throat: $1,500
Nasal swab: $2,000
|Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital |
(+852) 2835 8602
|Not travelled out of Hong Kong in the last 14 days; no contact with a confirmed case||Package price for consultation, deep throat test, and test report. Same day report available for samples submitted before 5 pm on weekdays||$1,800|
|Matilda International Hospital|
(+852) 2849 1500
|No symptoms, travel history, or contact with a confirmed case||Package price for consultation and testing. Results in a few days||$2,500|
|Union Hospital |
(+852) 2608 3355
Not travelled out of Hong Kong in the last 14 days; no contact with a confirmed case
|Package includes consultation, test, |
and lab report. Results available the next day
Nasal swab package: $2,000
|Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospital|
(+852) 2275 6688
|Not travelled out of Hong Kong in the last 14 days; no contact with a confirmed case||Nasal swab or deep throat test. Results within a few hours or available the next day, with different price points for the time it takes to get results||$1,500–$2,470 (excludes consultation)|
Many private clinics now offer telehealth consultations so that you can see a doctor from the safety of your own home, which also means their eligibility criteria is more open compared to in-person clinics and hospitals. Keep in mind that like private hospitals, private clinics are also obligated to report positive results to the Health Department. A list of all private clinics that offer COVID-19 testing can be found here but we’ve summed up a few of the major ones here.
(+852) 3622 3452
|Open to all||In-person or virtual consultation, deep throat test. Results available in two working days||$880 (just test and result)|
$1,580 (includes consultation and medical certificate)
|London Medical Clinic|
|Not travelled out of Hong Kong in the last 14 days; no contact with a confirmed case||Phone consultation, choice of PCR or blood test. Results in two to three working days||Consultation: $900 |
Saliva test: $1,500
(+852) 2155 9055
Locations across the Island
|Open to all||Online booking|
Phone consultation, choice of PCR, or blood test, followed by sample collection. Results in one to three days
Tests range from $900 to $2,100
|Trinity Health Centre|
(+852) 2192 7022
Tsim Sha Tsui
|Open to all|
Package price of consultation and deep throat test. Results available the next day or in two to four days
|Next-day results: $1,600|
Results in two to four days: $950
(+852) 8203 8204
|Open to all||Choice between virtual consultation and deep throat test or just the test. Results available in two to three working days||$300–$1,250|
|JP Partners Medical||No symptoms or travel history||Package price includes in-person consultation and deep throat test. Results available in two to three working days||$950|
(extra $100 for saliva sample transportation fee)