Hong Kong’s taxi drivers are being offered free testing for Covid-19 as part of the government’s effort to screen groups of workers and residents deemed at high risk of contracting the disease. Under the plan announced this week, the government will also provide testing for elderly care homes, restaurant workers and property management employees. Hong Kong recorded a record high of 67 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday , of which 63 were locally transmitted, taking the tally to 1,655, with 10 related deaths. At least 10 taxi drivers have been confirmed infected, with some linked to recent outbreaks at Sun Fat Restaurant in Jordan and Bun Kee Congee and Noodle Shop in Tsz Wan Shan. Authorities have set up four temporary specimen collection centres, which will be open every day beginning on Sunday until August 1. They are located at car parks on Rumsey Street in Sheung Wan, Shanghai Street in Yau Ma Tei, Kwai Yi Road in Kwai Chung and Castle Peak Road in Tsuen Wan. “I think passengers will be more relieved now that taxi drivers are able to get tested at least once for free,” said Wong Po-keung, chairman of the Hong Kong Taxi Owners’ Association. It will be better if there are more testing stations, which will make it more convenient for taxi drivers Ng Kwan-sing, Taxi Council vice-chairman Hong Kong’s more than 18,100 taxis have seen a decline in business since the pandemic emerged in the city in January, with average daily passenger journeys dropping to a provisional 550,100 in April compared with 861,000 a year before, down 36 per cent, according to the Transport Department. The vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Taxi Council, Ng Kwan-sing, called on the government to expand the number of collection centres. Hong Kong Covid-19 infections soar to record high of 67 “It will be better if there are more testing stations, which will make it more convenient for taxi drivers and stop them from congregating in the same areas,” Ng said. “I think this would encourage more cabbies to voluntarily get tested.” The department said it would do so if necessary. Drivers can register by phone beginning on Friday, but same-day appointments will not be available through the hotline. They are required to present a valid permanent identity card and taxi driver identity plate for verification. A nasal swab test will be collected and delivered to laboratories for testing. If the driver tests positive, the contracted screening company will notify the department, which will send details to the Centre for Health Protection for follow-up. “The registration process is a good thing as those who feel unwell or want to get tested can make an appointment first,” Ng said. “It will ensure that things won’t get too chaotic.” HK$1 hotpot and half-price takeaway: restaurants react to new Covid-19 rules South Korea first launched “drive-through” coronavirus testing facilities in February, which helped contain its outbreak, which at one point was the largest national total anywhere outside China. Health workers in white protective suits and goggles register motorists, check their temperature and use swabs to take samples from their throat or nose. Other countries such as the United States, France and Spain have also launched such “drive-through” centres in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.