From Monday Hong Kong school teachers and students will have access to free coronavirus tests as the city looks to catch up with mainland China's record low number of cases.

"The Education Bureau will launch a group-specific testing program for all kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, and special schools for free," Hong Kong chief secretary Matthew Cheung said.

In addition, clinics across Hong Kong will increase the quantity and availability of tests in addition to the launching of automated sampling kit dispensers.

The city is gearing up for more coronavirus preventative measures after chief executive Carrie Lam returned empty-handed from a visit to Xi Jinping in Beijing last week.

Lam had hoped to negotiate the resumption of cross-border travel between mainland China and Hong Kong - a mission she declared the most important part of the trip in a Nov. 3 news conference.

But despite her best efforts, "in the end it is Hong Kong that needs to be stricter on curbing the epidemic," Lam said referring to the uptick in citywide cases.

As it is, Hong Kong residents must quarantine for 14 days when they travel across the border and vice versa, something Lam had been hoping to do away with.

The city reported 10 coronavirus cases Sunday and six Monday, bringing the total number of Hong Kong cases to nearly 5,150 since January.

While most countries have resorted to virtual schooling, Hong Kong's daily cases were low enough to resume face-to-face teaching in September after more than six months of online learning.

Still, a smattering of local cases have kept officials on their toes. Last week, an outbreak at a Lantau island hotel prompted authorities to reconsider the recent loosening of social distancing regulations.

The cluster brought an end to the city's 17-day streak of daily case tolls in the single digits and prompted Cheung to advise caution.

"Hong Kong...faces many challenges and responding to the pandemic is our current priority," the Hong Kong chief secretary wrote in his weekly blog.